It's worth talking about podcast featuring founder Ryan and Zoe (1)

It’s Worth Talking About

by Laura Storey

James Crickmore talks to founder Ryan Anderton about the charity helping Keighley locals open up.

On an overcast day at the beginning of August, 17,000 music lovers descended on the Bingley Weekender. The atmosphere was ecstatic, with the crowd enthusiastically singing along to Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Travis and the legendary The Lancashire Hotpots. Photos show fans in traditional festival revelry, and many of them are holding up a frame with the words #ItsWorthTalkingAbout.

The Keighley mental health charity had headed down to the festival to capture the atmosphere within their charity’s colourful picture frames, chat, and spread the word that mental health matters.

Formed in March 2020, it was initially set up as a single men’s mental health peer support group in Keighley but has now developed into a multi-group, multi-sex organisation covering the Worth & Aire Valley.

Spreading the word at Bingley Festival

The aim of #ItsWorthTalkingAbout is to provide safe, confidential spaces for men & women to come and talk about anything affecting their well-being, mental health or quality of life.

“I suffered with my mental health in the past to the point where I was a resident at Airedale Hospital for ten weeks in 2010. That started my own mental health journey,” Ryan Anderton, the founder of the Keighley charity, explains. After several suicide attempts, Ryan stumbled across Andy’s Man’s Club in Hebden Bridge, a male peer-to-peer support group. Talking about his struggles openly worked for him in a way that medication hadn’t. He also discovered a hobby through others in the group – cycling.

Amazingly, in 2018, despite only taking up cycling two years previously, Ryan decided to cycle 4,800 miles around the entire coastline of Britain to raise money for mental health charity Mind. He managed to raise nearly £7,000 and completed the epic journey after six weeks in the saddle, despite being hit by a car on the third day of the trip.

The following year, he set himself another challenge – to ride through 12 European countries in 21 days, from Nordkapp in Norway to Tarifa on the Spanish coast.

Cycling and opening up about his struggles transformed Ryan’s life. He became a peer support worker for Mind in Bradford and spoke at prisons, schools and universities about mental health.

Following the suicide of a footballer from his hometown, Ryan realised that there was no male support group in the local area of Oxenhope. “His brother mentioned to me that he’d probably still be around if there was an Andy’s Man Club in the local area. I worked for Mind then and thought about possibly doing something at a local pub.”


Ryan organised a meet-up at The Hop On Worth in Keighley town centre. He hoped to emulate his experience at Andy Man’s Club and provide a supportive space for men to speak about their struggles.

“Normally, it’s a group who have challenges in their life sat round a table, having a drink and talking about their struggles together,” Ryan explains.

The group quickly evolved from being a men’s only support group to include all genders. “A young man from Wilsden who went to Bingley Grammar lost his life to suicide. His family became involved with us. His cousin Megan Russell was grieving, and she suggested that women would benefit from a support group too.”

The group had set up only two weeks before the COVID lockdown. “We had a temporary closure until the rules were determined,” he explains. “Then we opened at parks and in town halls, continued running, and were socially distanced.”

The groups were much needed as people struggled with isolation and changing their daily routines. “Attendances grew, and therefore, the people that came wanted to help further and open their own groups.”

“It helps them find the courage to attend a support group. Awareness is everything regarding mental health.”

Today, there are 12 groups running under the #ItsWorthTalkingAbout banner, including men’s and women’s groups across Keighley, Haworth and Bingley, along with a mixed group in Bradford and Keighley and a youth group in Haworth. The charity also has a men’s football team.

“Several of the guys in our groups wanted to encourage people to get outdoors and get active. It’s good for bonding and provides a support circle. Anyone who wants to come watch or play is more than welcome.”

Volunteers are the backbone of #ItsWorthTalkingAbout. From handing out leaflets and taking pictures at the Bingley Weekender to spreading awareness at the Saltaire festival, volunteering allows those struggling to speak to the people involved. “It helps them find the courage to attend a support group. Awareness is everything regarding mental health – reducing the stigma and allowing people to know support is available and what we do.”

If you’d like to volunteer, get in touch or attend a group. “Come to the sessions to see what we actually do, so you’ve been there and know you like it,” Ryan recommends.

To learn more about #ItsWorthTalkingAbout go to

Craven&ValleyLife Autumn 23