Men’s Mental Health Week.
A week that is largely recognised but ironically a week that many men across the country don’t want to be associated with.
Figures have declared that 77% of all men across the UK have recently (last year) suffered with common mental health symptoms like: stress, anxiety or depression, with 43% openly admitting they don’t want to talk about any ongoing or arising issues. This large figure (77%) stems from aspects of life like: family issues, financial worry, dissatisfaction with work life, physical health issues. All are aspects of life that everyone will undoubtedly go through at some point.
The stigma of being a male in modern society suffering with mental health can bring people to breaking point, which is why now more than ever its important to talk. After recently becoming a Certified Mental Health First Aider from MHFA England, it has opened my eyes massively to be able to understand and look for signs of when people may be struggling. More importantly, I learned the importance of helping people to talk if they are struggling and being there to listen non-judgementally.
Too many men will keep things in, with reports of the most common responses below:
‘I’ve learnt to deal with it’ (40%)
‘I don’t wish to be a burden to anyone’ (36%)
‘I’m too embarrassed’ (29%)
‘There’s negative stigma around this type of thing’ (20%)
‘I don’t want to admit I need support’ (17%)
‘I don’t want to appear weak’ (16%)
‘I have no one to talk to’ (14%)
With the amount of help out there at the moment to combat not just mental health itself, but also the stigma whether its, family, friends, Samaritans or professional help (counselling / GP) there are many options to provide people with eyes and ears to listen and a mouth to give advice and let people know they are not on their own. If you are a man struggling, don’t be subdued because you need to be ‘strong all the time’ or ‘macho’ or ‘a rock’. We all have down days, and all have breaking points. Speak. Reach out. Recover. Feel better.