AN inspirational man who set up a support group in Halesowen for men struggling with depression and addiction is in the running for a top award.

Jon Mansell runs the free drop-in group, Ex Boozehounds, at the town’s Hope Centre.

He also writes a popular blog, detailing his own experiences with addiction and mental health and using them to help others.

The 43-year-old has been nominated for the West Midlands police and crime commissioner’s Outstanding Citizen award and will find out if he has won on Wednesday July 13 at an awards ceremony in Birmingham.

Mr Mansell, who is fighting to break down the stigma around depression and addiction, said he was “chuffed to bits” to get the nomination.

He helps people focus on their demons and to talk through their issues at his drop-in sessions.

He said: “We help each other through different things and relax. We support them and then they step up and their confidence builds and they strengthen.

“There is a lot of pressure on men. Take me for example, people say that by 43 I should be married, with kids, a 4X4 and a semi-detached house and good job – if you don’t have those, you’re a failure and that pressure is unhealthy.

“I am against that whole ‘just pull yourself together’ attitude but it does feel as though things are changing. I’m in the process of setting up another group too to help people because people can feel complete loneliness and isolation – these groups can help fill in the gaps.

“My own experiences definitely help me understand people. I suffer with depression and alcoholism and I wish I had a similar group when I was experiencing things. Although, would I have gone for it? Male pride is a complex thing. An offer would have been helpful though.”

Police and crime commissioner David Jamieson added: “Jon is putting his head above the parapet to help a group of people so often overlooked.

“There is this stereotype that men need to be strong 100 per cent of the time and are not expected to suffer from mental health issues.

“However, we all know this is not the case and I’d like to congratulate Jon for working to address this imbalance and offer support and guidance.”