The Importance of St John’s Hospice to ‘For Men To Talk’ Founder

By ‘For Men To Talk’ founder and director, Luke Newman

Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice is in Moggerhanger in Bedfordshire. They provide expert care for life-limiting conditions, for those who need it. They also support their family and friends. They help with everything from pain and symptom management to emotional and practical help.

It’s a place that I know very well. I’ve had friends and family use the facilities that they offer. My Nan passed away there after a very short stay and my sister stayed their for a few days during her cancer treatment. But it was my Mum who spent the longest time at St John’s, cared by the most incredible nurses and volunteers, as she lost her battle with ovarian cancer.

Today marks nine years since I ran the London Marathon in aid of Ovacome, an Ovarian Cancer Support Charity and I was able to raise £6000 thanks to some amazing donations. I know the importance of fundraising for charities and that St John’s Hospice needs to raise over £1 million each year to meet the unfunded day-to-day running costs. An incredible amount of money.

I was able to receive some bereavement support from St John’s Hospice when I lost my Nan, a few years after Mum passed. I was very close to my Nan and visited her frequently, she’d seen many losses on her life, including her daughter and son and I didn’t want her to be lonely. A volunteer from the hospice was able to listen to how I was feeling over a number of sessions and was a huge help in my grief recovery.

It’s been a few years since then and with becoming a husband, father, fundraising for my humanitarian trips and launching ‘For Men To Talk’, I haven’t visited the hospice for a long time.

It was a chance encounter at a networking meeting that I met Joanne Landucci, Senior Community Fundraiser at St John’s Hospice and I was able to explain to her what the Hospice meant to me and that I would be forever grateful for the care that they have provided to my family, friends and for me personally.

From that gratitude, ‘For Men To Talk’ have donated five copies of ‘The Mental Health Moles’ books to the bereavement team. As well as grief, the book has 52 discussions, filled with advice about mental health topics, such as anxiety, depression, social media, stress, sleep and many more. I’m hopeful that the team will give a book to those who need a copy, which will help them, just like the team helped me all those years ago.

For further information on Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice, please visit: https://bit.ly/FMTTSJH

For further information on ‘The Mental Health Moles’, please visit: http://www.formentotalk.co.uk/mhmoles/

One Year Anniversary of the Launch Challenge that instigated ‘The Mental Health Moles’ Book

It’s hard to believe that the Launch Challenge that instigated ‘The Mental Health Moles’ Book started one year ago today! Read the blog at https://bit.ly/FMTTB22

In April 2021, I worked with Shifties, who help to enable business owners to connect, learn, and grow with their businesses together to take an idea and publish a book.

Six months previously to the start of the ‘Launch Challenge’, I used my love of the Mr. Men books and designed two cartoon moles, one with a bowler hat and one slightly smaller. I accompanied the moles and wrote a 4 page storyboard where the moles talked about different mental health illnesses and posted them on social media channels every Monday. All of a sudden I had around 20 different storyboards and I realised that this was my product!

Over the coming weeks, I researched, wrote and designed further stories, filled with topics, such as anxiety, depression, grief, social media, stress, sleep and many more, combining to make a total of 52 storyboards.

Once the designs were completed and text proof read and approved, I was able to get one hundred copies printed after a successful crowdfunding appeal. I also placed a digital version available on Amazon Kindle.

I didn’t really know who would the book appeal to. But I loved the idea of any generation, both male or female, boy or girl to understand there are lots of different kind of mental health illnesses and recognise in themselves if they are feeling like any of them.

Here are are just a few reviews that I have received after reading ‘The Mental Health Moles’ Book:
 
“I like The Mental Health Moles book because it is funny, colourful and cute. My favourite stories are about Christmas and Children. I learnt that it’s important for adults to talk to children about mental health because they might not understand what they are going through and that we need to talk about our problems when we feel bad like the story about Batmole! I took the book to school and read it to my teacher and classmates and they loved it too.”

“Simple but very effective. There are not many books out there that cover an age spectrum of 5 to 105 and is just as poignant for Male and Female. Every home should have one.”

“I have my signed copy on my coffee table and found my 6 year old Granddaughter reading it out loud today. Love that it is perfect for every age.”

“What is so clever, this is complicated stuff. This book should be huge. In four panels you’ve broken down mental health illnesses which is complicated, which others take chapters to discuss. It’s an artform.”

“You’ve taken subjects that so many people are scared of and you’ve hit the nail on the head, in a simple way.”

“I gave each of my kids (aged 7 and 9) a copy of the mental moles book and they’re really interacting with it. I’m already seeing that it’s opening up the conversations at home regarding mental health.”

“The mental health moles books is helping to normalise mental health more and helping to learn how to interact with others who have any kind of issues.”

“People have shelves of books they don’t read, but I reckon everyone who has this book reads it regularly because it’s so easy to read and so digestible.”

I am extremely proud of what I have achieved within the book over this last year. I am flattered by the amazing feedback that I have received. The next step will be to continue selling it via the ‘For Men To Talk’ meetings, social media, website, market stalls and craft fayres. But after being approached, I would really like the opportunity to talk about the book at local schools to highlight the need for boys and girls to talk about their mental health at early age.

‘The Mental Health Moles’ is available right now via:

£4.99 on Amazon Kindle via https://bit.ly/MHMOLES
£5.99 (+1.99p delivery) printed version via http://www.formentotalk.co.uk/mhmoles/
£10 (free delivery) signed and personalised printed version via http://www.formentotalk.co.uk/mhmoles/

All money goes towards supporting For Men To Talk who give men suffering with anxiety, depression and grief a chance to talk with other fellow sufferers.
 

The Launch Challenge that instigated ‘The Mental Health Moles’ Book

I’ve been a part of Shifties for approximately 18 months or so. They help to enable business owners to connect, learn, and grow with their businesses together.

The team, especially Alex Hughes, have been so supportive in both myself and ‘For Men To Talk’ and what we are trying to achieve throughout that period.

Over the last year, Alex, with the help of experts, have set out a number of tasks to improve us as entrepreneurs and small business owners. Tasks such as ‘Social Media Training’, ‘Meditation’ and ‘Expand Your Network’.

I always want to participate in these exercises. I want to learn and I want to improve, both as a person and as a director of a company. Apart from the ‘Early Riser’ task of waking up at 5am, that’s a bit too far for me!

The latest task was the ‘Launch Challenge’. Giving the members of Shifties a chance to launch a new business, service or product. At that time, I had already launched ‘For Men To Talk’ and I didn’t want to launch another business.

I needed a product. But what could I do? I needed something to support ‘For Men To Talk’.

Every since I was a child, I was fascinated by the Mr. Men books. I used to love my parents reading them to me, until I could read them myself and I love reading them now to my own children. The books are a series of brightly coloured, boldly drawn illustrations and introduces a different title character, with a different personality trait with a different a simple moral lesson in each book.

Six months previously to the start of the ‘Launch Challenge’, I used my love of the Mr. Men books and designed two cartoon moles, one with a bowler hat and one slightly smaller. I accompanied the moles and wrote a 4 page storyboard where the moles talked about different mental health illnesses and posted them on social media channels every Monday. All of a sudden I had around 20 different storyboards and I realised that this was my product!

Over the coming weeks, I researched, wrote and designed further stories, filled with topics, such as anxiety, depression, grief, social media, stress, sleep and many more, combining to make a total of 52 storyboards.

I have always asked questions, about anything. If I don’t know something, I am not afraid to find out the answer by asking, especially in business and in this scenario, a product launch. I had virtual meetings with a book publisher, printers and a proof reader to make sure that I had everything I need to make sure that my book would be at the best that it could be.

So right now I am very proud to announce that The Mental Health Moles book is OUT NOW. It is available:

All money goes towards supporting For Men To Talk who give men suffering with anxiety, depression and grief a chance to talk with other fellow sufferers.

The Mental Health Moles are here to Help!

A founder of a mental health peer support company in Bedfordshire has published a short book highlighting mental health challenges.

Similar to the style of the Mr. Men books, Luke Newman from Potton, has designed and written ‘The Mental Health Moles’ showing fifty-two storyboards accompanied with brightly coloured and boldly drawn illustrations with advice about mental health topics, such as anxiety, depression, grief, social media, stress, sleep and many more.

Luke has lost both his mother and sister to cancer and felt that there wasn’t an open platform for himself and other men to have a place to talk about their feelings openly.

So in 2019, Luke launched ‘For Men to Talk’ providing men with an opportunity to talk about their mental health during a weekly meeting. The group started at the beginning of 2020 in Jones Café in Biggleswade until the coronavirus lockdown moved them to the Zoom virtual online platform. The meetings will hopefully return to the café in July 2021, as well as continuing online, depending on lockdown restrictions.

Suitable for all ages and genders, ‘The Mental Health Moles’ book is available to purchase for £4.99 from the Amazon Kindle store via www.bit.ly/MHMOLES and £5.99 for the printed version which will soon be available from the ‘For Men To Talk’ website.

“I launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise £300, so that 100 copies could be printed,” said Luke. “People donated a minimum of amount of £10 and would receive a personalised and signed copy done myself. That target was reached in just eighteen hours. I can’t thank those people enough for the support”.

For more information about For Men to Talk and how to join the weekly sessions, please visit www.formentotalk.co.uk