MOVEMBER (that’s not a spelling mistake!) has become the month when some men choose to ditch the razor and sport a beard – or for those feeling even more daring a moustache, but what’s the point? The aim is to draw attention to men’s health – physical and mental – to encourage a conversation, a conversation that might save a life.
‘Man up’ – ‘boys don’t cry’. Although change is beginning to happen, this has been the message to men and boys for decades. Strong men are tough, able to cope and keep their thoughts and feelings to themselves – so says some parts of society.
I was already prompted to write about men’s mental health this month but in the middle of writing this article, I’ve just heard about another husband and father ending his own life and so the importance of the issue takes on a new urgency.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, 1 in 8 men have a common mental health issue such as anxiety, depression or stress and men are 3 times more likely to die from suicide than women. Bearing in mind the fact that men are often reluctant to talk about their own mental health challenges, that figure could be much higher.
So the message is simple:
Help is available. You are not alone.
If you need immediate help call the Samaritans for free on 116 123.
Or, find someone you trust to talk to about your thoughts and feelings.
Consider counselling to help you cope with the thoughts and feelings you are experiencing now, explore where they might be arising from and discover how to move forward in a safe, confidential space.
Whether it’s a counsellor, helpline or trusted friend there is always someone who will listen.