A PONTYPOOL-BASED charity is offering mental health support to young men in Torfaen by encouraging them to create their own comic books.

Volunteering Matters launched its ‘Men’s Mental Health Comic Book’ group six months ago.

The group aims to give young men aged 14 to 25 a place to socialise and embrace their creative side, all while breaking the stigma around mental health.

The group use their sessions to talk about issues they face in everyday life, and use their experiences to create comic books.

Sianne Morgan, development manager for Volunteer Matters, said: “The group is part of a wider mental health programme - the Mind Matters project.

“We found that the young men attended those sessions didn’t feel comfortable sharing some of the issues they faced in a mixed group.

“They were saying they had no-one to talk to.

“We decided we needed to create a group where they would be able to feel comfortable to share their stories, so from there, the Men’s Mental Health Comic Book group launched.


“The group is a safe place for them to share their experiences and any issues they are facing without the fear of being judged or shamed.

“The programme is led entirely by its users.

“They decided they wanted to focus on one issue they faced a month, and create a storyboard based around that issue. For example, their August topic was ‘bullying’’, and their first comic was based on ‘loneliness.”

The group runs weekly, and usually sees between five and 10 young people attend each session.

“It varies depending on what topic we are covering,” said Ms Morgan. “We saw lots of people turn up for the sessions on bullying.

“They also created a short film to inform people about hate crimes, and what effect they can have. When we were filming that, we saw even more people want to get involved.”

The group is held on Mondays between 11am and 1pm at the charity’s Pontypool office on Commercial Street.