Hello, how are you?
It may just sound like an ordinary, perhaps mundane, question, but for some it can and has changed their very world around.
Late December time and the presents are all around the tree, mulled wine warming on the hob and Home Alone is on TV once again. It's supposed to be a happy time of the year, but far too often people are alone at home and not in the comical Macaulay Culkin sense.
Why am I telling you this, I hear you ask?
Well, a very good friend of mine lost her younger brother to suicide very close to Christmas day in 2019. Her loss changed things for me and for thousands of others, and I felt that I needed to share something very remarkable that was born from such a tragic time.
Scott Malcolm was the founder of #BroCheck, though he would not know how much of an impact his simple idea would come to have on so many people's lives.
Scott would often check in on his friends who he knew, like himself, struggled with their mental health. The idea was that everyone would message, talk or meet with each other, just to get them through the day. He called this his 'bro check'.
Even in his darkest hours, Scott would be there for his bros and be that support they so needed.
When he passed away his older sister, Kirsty, heard about what he did for his friends and she took up Scott's mantle. And so #BroCheck was created - a peer-to-peer Facebook group for people who may be struggling with life, particularly (but not exclusively) men. The aim of the group is to simply carry on Scott's legacy and check in on people and to provide a safe, non-judgemental, place for them to come together and look out for one another.
A key goal is to help reduce the alarmingly high suicide rate in young men, to put an end to the notion that men need to 'man up'. Through the fact that so many people have come together, each with their own mental health experiences, the amazing safe space that Kirsty has helped shape has meant that thousands of people now have an outlet to voice their own troubles and offer their support.
Anyone is welcome at #BroCheck and since it's launch in January the group has grown rapidly and currently has over 6600 members from all around the world.
Scott's message is undoubtedly getting out to those that need it the most. Even in his darkest days Scott would look out for those around him and he made a difference to so many.
For myself, I am so proud to be part of Kirsty's team who admin for #BroCheck on Facebook and I just felt that I should help spread the word further via my TogBlog to my followers.
My fellow admin members and myself know, without doubt, that #BroCheck has saved lives. It has at times been a hard journey, with some painful and emotionally difficult days, but this train ride that we are all on will never stop and there are always extra seats on our carriages to fill.
So please, if you appreciate what we do via our group, if you take only one thing away from this blog, can I ask that you check in on someone today that you know might need it. Your message, call, text or however you choose to say hello - really could mean the difference between them having a bad day or their last day.
So I ask you again - hello, how are you? #BroCheck