Construction worker who broke 27 bones in life-changing accident sets up mental health group for men

Newham's Terry Regan, founder of Talk to Terry

Terry Regan, founder of Talk to Terry - Credit: Terry Regan

A Newham man who broke 27 bones in a life-changing construction accident in Kilburn is looking to further the success of a male mental health support group he set up in the pandemic.

Terry Regan, 56, started Talk to Terry in November 2020 in the midst of the Covid crisis in order to help men struggling with their mental health. 

“I just started doing it to help people out, I didn’t know it would grow into what it is today,” he told the Recorder. 

With now close to 250 members found mostly through word of mouth, Terry plans to launch a podcast series and offer mental health courses alongside the regular in-person and virtual sessions.  

Terry said: “I want to make it a normality for men to talk about mental health.”

At fortnightly meetings held at a former Post Office on Freemasons Road, men are encouraged to speak openly about their mental health, and Terry will often introduce a theme for discussion, such as perceptions of masculinity. 

Since starting the group, Terry has undertaken several health practice qualifications so he can better handle topics which come up in discussion and signpost individuals towards other services. 

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However, he is no stranger to mental health, having wrestled with bouts of insomnia and depression after a serious accident in his 20s left him with life-changing injuries.

He was working in demolition at a site in Kilburn when a factory roof supporting him collapsed, leaving him with 27 broken bones, which meant he could no longer work.

“My life had changed," he said. "It was like I was a different person.”

But it was through attending group therapy sessions that he began to feel himself again and was inspired to help others.

Terry believes the high crime rates in London is a symptom of excessive pressure placed on young men who don’t know how to open up about their mental health.

He would like to see the government do more to use the expertise of local communities, who understand the challenges that people in their area face. 

Find out more about Talk to Terry by emailing talk2terryuk@outlook.com