Men and Mental Health

09 November 2020 – Paul Hicks

Last month, I wrote a blog post on World Mental Health Day and briefly mentioned about men’s mental health. I want to discuss this further as I feel that men’s mental health is an important topic and hopefully it will help other people to start talking about their own mental health.

Please be aware that this blog post discusses self-harm and suicide and this maybe a trigger for some people. If you are currently experiencing a mental health problem and need support, please refer to the signposting for support section at the end of this post.

Talking about Mental Health

Within society, there is an expectation that men will be strong and not show how they are feeling. Talking about how you feel or what your thinking is somehow a sign of weakness and not masculine. Men feel unable to get help due to the fear of stigma or a lack of understanding and are therefore more likely to keep these negative thoughts and feelings all ‘bottled up’ inside of them.

I know from my own experience that keeping these negative thoughts and feelings inside of you is not good for your wellbeing. I ignored how I was feeling and throw myself into work, but this created an even bigger problem for me. I started having sudden crying fits at work and would have to rush to the toilets with the hope that no one else would be there to hear or see me crying. If anyone saw my slightly red eyes afterwards, I would make some excuse that I had hay fever or dust in my eyes.

I had a mental break down in the end and that was when I got the help I needed to move forward in life. If I had seen my GP sooner, then maybe my situation would have been different.

Male Suicide

If you keep your negative thoughts and feelings buried inside of you it can lead to even bigger problems such as self-harming and even suicide.

According to the Office for National Statistics, Suicides in England and Wales (2019 registrations), around three-quarters of registered deaths were among men. Last year, the male suicide rate was 16.9 deaths per 100,000 compared to 5.3 deaths per 100,000 for female. These statistics show, there were 11.6 deaths per 100,000 more male than female suicides.

The loss of life whether this be male, or female is a such a shame.

Source: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/suicidesintheunitedkingdom/2019registrations

Time To Change

A mental health campaign with the objective of reducing mental health related stigma and discrimination run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.

Sometimes we say we are fine when in fact we are not. The Ask Twice campaign highlighted that if your mate’s acting differently you may have to ask twice to find out how they are really feeling?

Signposting to Support

Samaritans

Tel: 116 123 (24 hours a day, 365 days a year)
Email: jo@samaritans.org Web: https://www.samaritans.org/

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) – for those who identify as male

Tel: 0800 58 58 58 (5pm – midnight, every day)
Web: https://www.thecalmzone.net/
Webchat: https://www.thecalmzone.net/help/webchat

Switchboard – for those who identify as LGBT+

Tel: 0300 330 0630 (10am – 10pm, every day)
Email: chris@switchboard.lgbt
We: https://switchboard.lgbt/

Papyrus – for those under 35

Tel: 0800 068 4141 (Monday to Friday 9am to 10pm, weekends / bank holidays 2pm to 10pm)
Email: pat@papyrus-uk.org
Text: 07860 039967
Web: https://www.papyrus-uk.org/help-advice/about-hopelineuk

The Mix – for those under 25

Tel: 0808 808 4994 (Sunday – Friday, 2pm to 11pm)
Email: https://www.themix.org.uk/get-support/speak-to-our-team/email-us
Text: https://www.themix.org.uk/get-support/speak-to-our-team/crisis-messenger

SANEline – for those aged 16 or over

Tel: 07984 967708 (leave your name and number)
Email: support@sane.org.uk Textcare: http://www.sane.org.uk/what_we_do/support/textcare
Web: http://www.sane.org.uk/home

Childline – for children and young people under 19

Tel: 0800 1111 Web: https://www.childline.org.uk/