November is Men’s Mental Health month – a movement started in 2003 by ‘Movember’ – a leading men’s health charity (Movember Europe is a registered charity) that has funded more than 1,250 men’s health projects around the world.
The movement tackles men’s mental health and suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer.
The Mental Foundation have also got behind ‘Movember’, with their Men’s Mental Health campaign running throughout November each year. This campaign is for anyone who identifies as a male or a man, and whose mental health may be impacted by pressures associated with this.
I hope that we can all take notice during men’s mental health month – because we all have men in our lives – partners, brothers, sons, colleagues. Men’s mental health matters – to all of us.
In England, around one in eight men is known to have a common mental health disorder such as depression, anxiety, panic disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
This figure is almost certainly distorted as it only reflects the number of men who actually seek help and receive a diagnosis. It is likely that many more suffer in silence.
Why don’t men talk about mental health?
Of course, that’s a generalisation, but it is true that many men do stay silent.
Why is this?
Societal expectations and traditional gender roles play a role in why some men are less likely to seek help for their mental health problems.
We often expect men to be strong, dominant and in control. While these aren’t inherently bad things, they can make it difficult for men to open up and to reach out for support.
Some research also suggests that men who don’t feel able to speak openly about their emotions may be less able to recognise symptoms of poor mental health in themselves, and less likely to reach out for help.
Men are also more likely to use potentially harmful means of coping such as alcohol or substances; and less likely to talk to family or friends about their mental health.
The good news is that research also suggests men will access help that meets their preferences and is easy to access, meaningful and engaging.
That’s why it is so important that we keep the spotlight on Men’s mental health, keep raising awareness and sharing information about the great initiatives and resources available to support men’s mental health.
Next week, MHIB Co-Founder & Director Steve Heath, will share his own experiences and thoughts on men’s mental health.
If you yourself are feeling like ending your life, please call 999 or go to A&E and ask for the contact of the nearest crisis resolution team. These are teams of mental health care professionals who work with people in severe distress.
If you need someone to talk to then Samaritans are available on 116 123 (UK) for free, 24/7. They are there to talk to, listen and they won't judge or tell you what to do.
C.A.L.M.: National helpline for men to talk about any troubles they are feeling. Call 0800 58 58 58 (UK). They are available 5pm-midnight 365 days a year.
For support in a crisis, Text Shout to 85258. If you’re experiencing a personal crisis, are unable to cope and need support. Shout can help with urgent issues such as: Suicidal thoughts, abuse or assault, self-harm, bullying, relationship challenges.