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‘The Grieving Pint’: Two Bristol students brewing up a conversation on men’s mental health

Ben and Alex have found, as most of us can vouch for, that conversation comes out a little easier after a pint or two


Alongside their studies, two second year students, Ben Mason and Alex Barnham, are partnering with The Left Handed Giant Brewpub to lay the foundations of their new charity “The Grieving Pint”.

With their inaugural meeting set to take place next Tuesday, 18th of April, The Grieving Pint seeks to “break the stigma for men’s mental health, designate a space for conversation, and create a non-judgemental support network”.

Ben and Alex have found, as many of us can vouch for, that conversation comes out a little easier after a pint or two. The two students want to use this informal setting to create a comfortable environment where men feel they can chat about any struggles they may be facing. As Ben pointed out: “We want a setting where men can talk openly, if they wish, or simply have the option of doing so. We also want to help people avoid drinking alone”.

A key aim is to create a non-pressured environment; whoever comes along won’t be forced into conversation. Initially, it’s just an opportunity to meet new people. Regardless of what talks arise, whether it’s about feelings or footie, between two people or 10, “as long as the session helps and promotes conversation with anyone, that in itself will be a success”, notes Ben.

Quite simply, it’s about a pint (there’s 30 craft beers to choose from) and a chat. With fortnightly meetings, Ben and Alex hope to create a constant network of support that men feel they can be a part of whenever they wish to attend.

Ben personally found that although professional routes such as counselling can be beneficial and supportive, a lot of the time it proved a protracted process in a setting that some find too formal. The Grieving Pint intends to take something as casual and enjoyable as having a pint with mates, and using it to draw out positive conversation within a wide and accepting community.

Ben and Alex commented on their observations that men find it difficult to confront their experiences and emotions. As Alex puts it: “All too often, men take these negative emotions box them up and put them at the back of their minds.” Oftentimes this “box” seems to not be opened again, opened all at once or in the wrong setting.

To overcome this unhealthy method of processing, The Grieving Pint, hopes to make taking that box off the shelf, as it were, as normal and as easy as possible.

The charity is independent from the University of Bristol, as the founders are aiming for longevity and expansion in the future. They hope to hold fortnightly sessions, with guest speakers and future events such as BBQs and cricket matches.

“All are welcome at the inaugural evening on Tuesday, April 18th, 7pm, at the Left Handed Giant Brewpub, and you can get ongoing updates by following the charity on Insta, @thegrievingpint.

So if you’re looking to switch up the scenes of Steam, with a better outcome than Brass Pig, come along! There’s nothing to lose, in fact a lot to gain, in trying it out.

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