Cornermen uses exercise to improve wellbeing

It’s mental health awareness week, and Andrew Stanley (known as Stano) from HR Wallingford wishes to spread the word about Cornermen, a charity which aims to help men who are struggling with life.

Stano volunteers with the charity, which has its base at South Moreton Boxing Club. Cornermen’s ethos is to use exercise, alongside the opportunity to chat to a trained professional and get advice, to improve the mental health of men. It was set up to help men because the suicide rate is highest among them.

“The idea of Cornermen is that for some people it’s easier to talk in a non-clinical environment, plus exercise stimulates endorphins, and after a work-out it’s often easier to talk,” Stano explains. “Participants don’t have to do a fitness class – they can choose to go for a walk if they prefer.”

Stano spent 10 years boxing himself, becoming the Southern Area Cruiseweight Champion in 2014. Having got a lot out of the sport, he was keen to give back. He welcomes men from the charity to the three gym sessions that he runs at the club (which is in addition to his day job at HR Wallingford helping build huge models), and makes himself available to talk to them.

“My aim is to get the men motivated and leave the gym smiling,” he says. “I believe in the power of exercise to help mental health. Last year I decided to do more to help after I talked down somebody who was contemplating suicide. I’ve just completed the mental first aider course at work. I would say though that you don’t need to be an expert to help others – just be prepared to listen to them. Everyone needs someone in their corner to encourage them to keep going.”

Since Cornermen started in November 2022, it has already supported 150 men, mostly via self-referrals – and is currently received around eight referrals per month.

Details of how to make a self-referral to The Cornermen are at https://thecornermen.org/get-support.

Donations to keep the charity running would also be welcome.