International Men’s Day – Discussing Men’s Mental Health; removing the stigmas

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Just over three out of four suicides are by men and suicide is the biggest cause of death for men under 35 (ONS)

12.5% of men in the UK are suffering from one of the common mental health disorders

8.7% of men are alcohol dependent compared to 3.3% of women (Health and Social Care Information Centre)

Men are less likely to access psychological therapies than women. Only 36% of referrals to IAPT (Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies) are men.

With November being Men’s Health Month and today International Men’s Day , we want to get the conversation going around men’s mental health. Here’s how you can help.

1. Make space to have real conversations: Find time to truly talk to one another and make sure you do so judgement free. It’s fine to do activities with your male friends, but make sure you find the time to sit down and talk too.

2. Don’t take ‘fine’ as your final answer: We’ve all done it; we say we’re fine when we’re not. To really find out, ask twice and don’t take ‘fine’ as your final answer.

3. Delve that little bit deeper: We don’t always say exactly how we are feeling, so often you will need to read
between the lines when speaking to men about their mental health.

4. Avoid toxic language: Be clear that ‘grow up’, ‘man up,’ ‘get a grip’ or ‘grow a pair’ are incredibly unhelpful phrases and can be ever so damaging. Avoid them at all costs.

5. Find the right space: Face-to-face, conversations can often feel intense and intimidating. The key is finding an environment that’s slightly more relaxed for conversations to happen. Going for a walk or car journey can also be helpful.

6. Support men: All that your friend, colleague or family member wants to hear is that you’re there for them and your feelings towards them will not change if they open up. You don’t have to try and give advice; they just need to know they are being listened to.

7. Remove the stigma: Remember Men’s Health is important all year long – not just during the month of November. Having open conversations, sharing your own story and supporting others all year long is essential to try and remove the stigma associated with men’s mental health.

Let’s start the conversation today!

If you need support, or want to help a friend or loved one, you could contact one of the below organisations to discuss men’s mental health.

CALM: https://www.thecalmzone.net/

Samaritans: https://www.samaritans.org/

Men’s Health Forum: https://www.menshealthforum.org.uk/

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