Male Mental Health Week, there are many men suffering in silence.
“Linda, I feel uninspired and am lacking courage. After a series of disappointments, I’m really anxious about taking another risk. So, I’ve settled to just wait and see what happens.” I get many emails just like this, life should be wonderful, taking that first step out to get help is very hard.
It is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of your strength.
There is so much in the media now about mental health and the need for self-care, but men still seem to be more reticent about talking, however, the national suicide rate shows how much men need to find support. According to the Office of National Statistics latest report, “Males accounted for three-quarters of suicides registered in 2017 (4,382 deaths), which has been the case since the mid-1990s.”
This trend is not changing and the devastating effect of suicide on family, friends and colleagues cannot be underestimated. The number of unanswered questions, the grief and the self-recrimination of “what if”, all caused, because these men could not/would not, or felt unable to ask for help.
As a society we are steadily becoming more and more isolated, social media (or as I call it anti-social media) portrays a biased lifestyle and encourages bullying with the anonymity offered by hidden identities and other people believe what is being posted. At the risk of sounding very old, it is essential to remember that all gadgets, mobiles, tablets and computers have “off buttons,” they need to be used more often, so that conversations and engagement with people around you are more usual.
There are more males in the wider support network working to help others in their quest for help, so looking for what there is in your local area is important, there is always the national support network of the Samaritans. These are there for anyone in need, but you need to make the choice to want to be helped, that is your stepping stone to recovery.
The staggering number of suicides is horrendous, it equates to 1 on 12 men, but that is also only the tip of the iceberg that is the number of men suffering with anxiety, depression, stress and isolation. The Mental Health Foundation reports that, “1 on 8 men are suffering from one or a combination of these.”
Self-care is not a luxury, it is a necessity. Simple strategies to help you:
- Structure 20 mins of “me time” into your day, every day.
- Use an alarm clock, rather than your mobile in the bedroom.
- Keep hydrated with water – caffeine, alcohol and stimulant drinks have downs, as well as the ups.
- Stretch, sit quietly for a few mins every hour at work.
- Eat regularly, preferably not rubbish
- Sleep helps to repair, relax and rejuvenate
Be kind to yourself. Make it a happy Male Mental Health Week