Food for Thoughts

  • Charlie Buchan

Food for Thoughts is an initiative that seeks to put men together to open up about their mental health over a healthy and hearty meal, contributing to a healthier mental wellbeing. Held in neutral spaces, such as restaurants and cafés, local businesses that host the sessions sponsor the initiative in order to keep it running and to allow the community to challenge the stigma behind men’s mental health. In this day-and-age, it is extremely sad to see that this stigma is still so prominent. For men in their mid 20s and older, it may be harder for this particular age group to open up when they feel they don’t have accessibility or facilities at hand to do so. Waiting times for counselling on the NHS can be months to longer than a year, and, generally, men are more likely to bottle up their feelings and attempt to resist their emotions because of societal pressures. Men who attend Food for Thoughts sessions would hopefully begin to convince themselves that talking openly about their emotions is one of the best ways to getting better. The table is headed by the Host, a therapist who volunteers to counsel the group. The Host would deliver open-ended prompts and questions to get at least some of the table talking. Sometimes just being around people who are willing to explore their emotional state can be just as helpful to those who are not yet ready to open up. This initiative presents opportunities for men to create new friendships, explore how they are feeling, and in turn, erase the stigma behind men's mental health – all over a plate of good food.