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Mental Health Awareness Week and Talk Club

Mental Health Awareness Week and Talk Club

The Committee20 May - 14:23
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Talk Club Meets Monthly at the Clubhouse

As Mental Health awareness week comes to an end, we look ahead at how the club supports mental fitness. Rob Shelley talks (below) about what led him to set up talk club at the club. This season an additional talk club has been set up for our colts (16-18yr boys) and one is in the planning for ladies (18yrs+) and will start next season. Given how important mental fitness is, you might want to be aware that Kent Rugby can facilitate free places on mental health first aid courses; useful for coaches or side line spectators alike! If you want to know more about talk club, please do contact Rob via the website on talk club.

Rob says.....
' It has been my privilege to have known Steve Yates, and to still know Ben Akers, and to count them as ‘old friends’ going way back to my school days. I hung out with them in and out of secondary school, we got our first Saturday jobs together in Bromley and attended college together in Orpington. Life then took us in different directions. It was only really the invention of Facebook that, like many of us, caused me to wonder what folk from my past were up to; to discover how they had faired, and who they might still be in touch with. I looked them both up and we reconnected and reminisced virtually… and for many, that’s enough, curiosity appeased, we move on again with our lives. However, such was the bond I once had with both Steve and Ben, I actually picked up the phone and we properly caught up. I marvelled at how, despite the years having marched on, we were able to pretty much reconnect where we had left off, still laughing at silly things that made us laugh back in the day. I remember Steve taking great delight in telling me about his Subaru Impreza, a car he’d always wanted, and now owned. Obviously, we had our own families and lives and weren’t about to become the three amigos and set of on an adventure together… but I was happy to have rekindled a couple of friendships from my past. I remember vividly the last phone call I had with Steve. He excitedly told me of the new life he was about to embark on in Canada, with his young family. “When you pop back to the UK, do let me know”, I said. “It’d be great to meet up… you, me and Ben”, “Sure”, said Steve “… I’d like that”

I never met Steve again.

Ben’s grieving process and subsequent determination to prevent the next ‘Steve’ from taking their own life was inspiring; is inspiring. The creation of Talk Club has been a fitting tribute to the sad loss of our friend Steve, and as it developed into an easy-to-follow 4-question process, I knew I’d love to facilitate a Talk Club in my home town of Beckenham. I did the Captain’s training. I mentioned it to a few people locally and was offered various halls and had the backing of a few local churches, but I didn’t want this to be a ‘church’ thing. I wanted to hold it where the sort of blokes that need to access it were, and were comfortable to be… I wanted Beckenham Rugby Football Club. It took me a quite a few months to get to speak to the right person at BRFC, to float the idea and get their blessing. But it has been worth the wait… the club are extremely supportive of Talk Club and even club members that don’t come along are always keen to know how it’s going. I’ve been facilitating Beckenham Talk Club since March 2022, we meet in the club lounge, sit in comfy armchairs arranged in a circle with rugby ball in hand whilst sharing. Some of my neighbours, who I’d invited along to the first meeting so I wasn’t sat on my own, are still attending regularly. One attendee has completed ‘Captains’ training to support me and maybe help run more frequent meetings.'.

Quotes About Talk Club
“Like most guys, I’ve never been very good at talking about my feelings. After attending a few Talk Club meetings, I began to realise the positive effects of sharing. I also began to recognise the power of listening to others and learning that many other guys are going through similar things to myself.” Cory –TC Beckenham

“In much the same way you don’t need to wait until you are overweight before deciding to exercise, you don’t need be in a dark place before engaging in mental fitness. ” Pete –TC Beckenham

Further reading