A NEW project has been set-up to boost the wellbeing of young men and boys in the district.

The launch of the initiative comes following a survey by Keighley-based Healthwatch Bradford & District which found that many people were experiencing loneliness, the death of loved ones, suicidal thoughts or anxiety.

It also identified a rise in the need for mental support across all age groups.

When comments were analysed, 21 per cent of them specifically referred to Covid-19 as the main topic.

Now Brave Minds is underway.

The venture is being spearheaded by the Millan Centre in Manningham, which since the start of the pandemic has created ‘safe spaces’ for people of all ages and backgrounds to talk about mental health and access help.

Projects were established that catered for girls and women, but it became apparent that there was a need to expand the provision.

Centre vice-chairman Saliha Sadiq said: “During counselling sessions the girls and women were also worried about the mental health of the boys or men in their household or within extended families. I was asked if I could offer them counselling.

“Over the years, men have suffered in silence due to a stigma and barrier around mental health so therefore have been reluctant to come forward and access emotional support.

“Since the Brave Minds project has been set-up, we have had several self-referrals.

“The counsellors have been extremely busy.

“More young boys are feeling suicidal and low in mood due to lockdown and feel socially isolated.

“I want all of us to work together and encourage each other to access counselling or any emotional support and break the stigma and barriers.

“I am aware this won’t happen overnight.

“If you need counselling, please come forward.”

The centre is helping people find simple ways to care for their wellbeing, including the power of reading.

A number of books have been donated by the Bradford Stories Project.

Anyone seeking support can contact the Millan Centre on 01274 480691 or admin@millan.org.uk, or visit the website at millan.org.uk.