THE message on a wall in JourneyMen Wirral's counselling room is simple but direct ... 'You'll never walk alone'.

Opened in April, the early intervention service in Chester Street, Birkenhead helps men experiencing mental issues and needs your support.

As the name suggests, it seeks to take its clients on a journey through their problems and back to a more at ease way of life, with help from a team of counsellors and other healthcare professionals.

Since it opened, the organisation has helped more than 50 people, some of whom after a failed suicide attempt or after expressing suicidal thoughts.

Its 'journey plan' involves counselling, training and help to prepare clients for work or become volunteers.

The organisation was set up by ex-police officer and Liverpool fan Phil Roberts, who left the force to concentrate solely on JourneyMen's work, after learning how difficult it was for those feeling rough to access support.

During his time in the force, Mr Roberts was part of an Early Help Team and saw first-hand how devastating depression can be on men in particular.

Shortly after getting in touch with the various contacts in the mental healthcare sector, an Open Day was held and attended by lots of relevant organisations from across the borough.

Among them was Neo Community Cafe, which agreed to provide Mr Roberts with premises along Chester Street as a base for JourneyMEN to do its operations and counselling sessions.

The help includes initial assessment, counselling sessions, training and social interaction, right through to helping its clients become job-ready or be able to volunteer.

Mr Roberts told the Globe: "The service we offer at Journeymen has, in my opinion, been a long time coming.

"It's opening came about at the right time. Covid-19 had come and the country was shut down; people didn't know what was going to happen next, people faced losing their jobs, causing family tensions, break-ups and depression.

Wirral Globe:

Phil Roberts and Liam Anderson outside the premises of JourneyMen in Birkenhead. Picture: Craig Manning

"My intelligence on male health in Wirral was non-existent, even though I had spent 17 years working in the borough as a police officer.

"So, when I founded the organisation I decided the best way to do this was devote my time fully to helping those most at risk who need our help.

"I went from a job with a decent to something I was doing for nothing, but it is such a worthwhile and life-saving thing to do.

"We get Facebook and Twitter messages 24 hours a day from people wanting our help.

"We've got some high-end cases and over 50% have attempted to kill themselves.

"My choice of Liverpool's anthem You'll never walk alone is our message was the obvious one.

"Our clients will never walk alone, as we help them cope with whatever problems they are dealing with."

Listing examples of the people the organisation has helped, Phil continued: "I had a man who was breaking down in front of me and needed help.

"All the doctor wanted to do was give him tablets. So, all there was to do on a Saturday night was take the tablets. It was not a good situation.

"One of the males also tried to harm himself."

Wirral Globe:

JourneyMen's Phil Roberts, Liam Anderson and Harry Leahey outside the premises in Birkenhead. Picture: Craig Manning

Among those who have benefitted from the organisation's work is Liam Anderson, from Runcorn, whose life was turned around after attempting to take his own life in 2018.

A former logistics officer for BP Oil in Ellesmere Port, Liam tried to jump into the River Mersey, but was saved by the swift actions of an elderly female Samaritan who came to his aid.

He got himself straight and later moved to Wirral with his new partner.

In December that year, a fall down the stairs at home left him with a fractured skull and a subdural haemorrhage.

He left hospital in May last year, came to JourneyMen for support, and is now a member of its staff.

Wirral Globe:

Liam Anderson in the counselling room at JourneyMen. Picture: Craig Manning

He said: "I've worked since I was 16, have cheated death twice and have been given another chance.

"I went from managing trucks and logistics to helping men through their problems.

"Phil's journey has even helped my 10-year-old daughter. She was going through a bad time and didn't want to be here anymore.

"Phil put her in touch with Kooth - an online counselling service for children - and she's happier than she's ever been.

"He's even got a Pug dog called Edgar and has promised to throw a pug party at JourneyMen."

For more details, or to support the organisation, go to: or