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Meet the Team

Our team is a bunch of people who do their best to see the potential in every moment and work hard to make a difference every day. 

Our unwavering belief in what we're doing and what we can achieve is what gives Tough To Talk its heart and soul and is what will make a difference to the men we're here to help. 

 

Our leadership team and Trustee Board bring a depth and breadth of knowledge and experience across diverse sectors, and we know that together, we can reduce the number of male suicide, and help break the stigma.

  

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T2T FOUNDER

STEVE WHITTLE

Charity Charmer and Magician of Generosity - Crafting spectacular solutions for this great cause, orchestrating miracles for those men who need it, and facilitating impactful donations to make a difference.

 

In a world where we're constantly being told to “be strong,” it can feel impossible for anyone who's experienced any type of pain or difficulty in their life.

 

This is especially true when someone is trying hard to not just survive, but to thrive — and they often find themselves at the intersections between mental health stigmas: unable to talk about what hurts them because others will judge them harshly; and discouraged from reaching out by an outdated system that doesn't work well enough...

 

That's why we've created Tough To Talk.

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TRUSTEE T2T, RSPCA AND THE SCOUTS

STUART HOWELLS

Before retirement, Stuart had a wide-ranging 35-year career in banking, ultimately specialising in heading up Risk Management and Assurance functions across the NatWest Group. In addition, he was an Executive Leadership Coach developing appropriate culture across Senior Managers and Executives. He prides himself on leading highly successful and diverse teams across the UK. Stuart qualified as an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers and a Chartered Banker.

 

Stuart has been heavily involved in national charities as a trustee, as Vice-Chair of the UK Scouts and now as a trustee of the RSPCA. In addition to his professional background, he has become an expert in the governance of federated charities. Through his work with the Scouts, where he is also Chair of the Nottinghamshire Scouts, Stuart has a huge interest in the education of young people, both formal and non-formal. He is a trustee and Director of the Nova Education Trust, covering 15 schools across the East Midlands.

 

He can frequently be found volunteering at his local RSPCA animal shelter and doting on his cats, Frodo and Reggie. Stuart totally disagrees with W C Fields, who coined the phrase "never work with children or animals".

 

Why am I passionate about T2T?

Stuart is committed to Tough To Talk as he has seen how difficult it can be for, especially men, to open up about their true feelings. Many stereotypically want to be seen to be “tough” and therefore find it really tough to talk. If Tough To Talk can prevent just one suicide it will be a success.

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MENTAL HEALTH CHARITY ADVISOR

Tulsi Khar

With a background in Mental Health and Counselling through a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and an MSc in Counselling, with volunteer work and self study sprinkled all over;  I am passionate about creating positive change in the male mental health landscape. My journey has equipped me with the tools to actively listen, empathise, understand, and contribute to the mission of Tough To Talk.

My passion for Tough To Talk stems from a deeply rooted belief in the transformative power of conversations. In a world where mental health is often stigmatised, Tough To Talk serves as a beacon of hope, breaking down barriers and fostering open dialogues. The mission to destigmatize mental health aligns seamlessly with my personal values, motivating me to be part of this impactful initiative.

At Tough To Talk, I aspire to contribute to the organisation's growth and reach. My goal is to leverage my skills and experiences to enhance the impact we have on individuals' lives. By fostering a culture of understanding, empathy, and support, I aim to help the charity expand its reach, ensuring that more people have access to the resources and conversations that can make a meaningful difference.

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HEAD OF OPERATIONS. THE FOOTBALL ASSCIATION AND T2T TRUSTEE

TIM FOSTER

Tim currently works as Head of Operations for The Football Association.  Focussing on the Grassroots game, in his role Tim’s mission is to unite communities and improve the health of the nation, using the power of football.

 

Health and wellness has always been a keen area of focus for Tim.   Much of his working career has been spent in the health and fitness industry, where most recently Tim was Operations Director and Product Director for a global health club brand.  This time also included a stint in South Africa, when Tim and his family relocated to Cape Town for a while.

 

Whilst studying for his BA in Recreation Management at the University of Sheffield, Tim found a love for mountain biking in the Peak District, a passion he retains to this day.  Tim recently undertook his MA in Leadership in Sport and has always strongly believed that 'exercise is medicine', for both the physiological and psychological benefits it brings.

 

Why am I passionate about T2T?

I'll put my hands up.  Talking about me, especially my feelings or state of mind, has never been my thing.  I will usually quickly deflect the conversation or give as short an answer as I can, moving on into a more comfortable conversation.

 

But.... I have always believed that exercise is medicine and I am equally convinced now that talking is medicine too.  We men need to understand that better and embrace talking more.  The way to make it less uncomfortable is to do it more, to practise it, to normalise it.  In doing so I know not only can we start to feel better in ourselves, but through talk we can also make life changing, positive impact to others - whether we know it or not.

 

Tough to Talk resonated with me as I agree that there's a particular tone of voice needed for men when it comes to talking about how we feel, how we are coping... or not.  As we start to put a spotlight on the need to talk more, this tone is especially important.  I'm delighted to be a part of something that can change lives.  Something that can save lives.  Let's say how it how it is.  Let's make a difference.  Let's get tough.

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HEAD OF LEARNING, DEVELOPMENT AND DIVERSITY AT COOPER PARRY AND T2T TRUSTEE

ERYN FROST

I currently work as Head of Learning, Diversity and Inclusion at Cooper Party. I have a wonderful husband and two beautiful children. Originally from America, I live in the West Midlands.

 

Why am i passionate about T2T?

It can be incredibly difficult to reach out and ask for help, if you are a man, you have the additional barriers of cultural and social norms. I don’t want my son to hesitate if he needs help. I don’t want him to fear repercussions for being honest.

 

We need to redefine strength and what it means to be a man. We need to think about the impact of destructive phrases such as, “boys don’t cry”, “take it like a man” or “don’t be a girl” when boys or men show vulnerability.

 

I want my son to grow up in a world where men being vulnerable is celebrated. And asking for help is the action of a strong man, a real man.

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Charity Secretary/Course Manager

Sandra Garcao

I swapped sunny Portugal for gothic England in 1988 because my dream was to work in the music industry as a sound engineer. But my plans changed, so I ended up studying literature and working as an executive assistant to finance my studies. The goal was to become a writer like … Stephen King or Seamus Heaney. In my spare time I do a lot of reading, writing, listening to music, crochet, sewing and spoiling my dog Bonscott (yes, ACDC fan).

 

Mental health is an area that fascinates me. I dedicate time doing courses online and watching Youtube videos with experts explaining anything connected to the mind. My favourite is probably Gabor Mate. I feel very passionate about men’s mental health because of men in my family and friends. It’s not hard to help women and girls, but men is a different ball game which I’m willing to learn. I love challenges and am dedicated to learning and growing.

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