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17th June 2020

Men’s Health Week – Men’s Mental Health

The global pandemic presents unique challenges for us all. You will certainly not be alone if you are experiencing additional stress during this time. As each of us adapts to try to cope and navigate this unprecedented landscape, one thing that has become increasingly relevant, is how vitally important it is for us all to look after our mental health and wellbeing and support each other too.

Men’s Health Week 2020 provides the ideal platform to reiterate this essential message and an opportunity to promote a culture where men feel supported and empowered to speak up and ask for help if they are struggling.

A recently published self-help book 'Big Boys Don't Cry' presents a collection of real-life stories from over 50 men with lived experience of mental health problems. This book really shines a light on the importance of talking to someone if you or someone you know is concerned about their mental health. Nearly every man in the book emphasises how crucial being open about their problems was on their personal journey to recovery. However impossible it seemed at the time, many of them say that talking about their feelings had literally saved their life.

Men's Lives Matter

· In the UK & Ireland, men are three - four times more likely to die from suicide than women.

· Overall, middle-aged men have the highest rates of suicide (the highest age-specific suicide rate is amongst males aged 45-49years).

· Suicide rates among the under 25’s has generally increased in recent years.

· Men living in the most deprived areas, from the lowest social class, are up to ten times more likely to end their lives by suicide than those in the highest social class from the most affluent areas.

Why Men?

The reasons for this group being particularly vulnerable to suicide are complex and multifactorial. New research has been published that builds on understanding, to inform future developments in this area. One large-scale survey of over 2,500 people highlighted the stigma that still exists around mental health for men. This report suggests that men are more reluctant to communicate with friends or family members about their mental health issues and compared to women, men were less likely to seek medical support. When asked, 28% of men had not sought medical help for the last mental health problem they experienced compared to 19% of women.

Asking for help

It can be tough to ask for help but research suggests that men will access help and support when they feel that the help being offered is meaningful, engaging, easily accessed and meets their preferences.

Seeking support for your mental health can be a challenge in usual circumstances. This journey can be even more confusing during a pandemic, but it doesn’t have to be. Read on for a simple guide that aims to help you to know where to ask for help.

Talk to your GP or mental health team

GP surgeries are still open. Most GP surgeries have now moved to phone or video consultations where possible to help the NHS tackle the spread of the corona virus and minimise the risk associated with this for vulnerable patients and staff. So, whilst face-to- face appointments may be switched to consulting remotely, many GP surgeries are now offering options for appointments that may include: e-consultation, telephone and video consultations. Check with your GP surgery (they often have updates on the surgery website) to see what is available where you live and make contact to arrange an appointment.

Talk to someone: You are not alone

There is hope when everything feels hopeless. There are people who care and people who are ready to listen to you.

  • Samaritans: 116123 (freephone) 24hrs per day, 7 days a week Online: www.samaritans.org
  • CALM: 5pm – midnight, 365 days a year NATIONWIDE 0800 58 58 58 or find help online: www.thecalmzone.net

Online support

Below is a list of useful online resources, that provide information on self-care, support and general signposting to other organisations who may be able to help. All are available for FREE.

  • The NHS Every Mind Matters website is an excellent information source if you are looking for advice on how to manage your mental health at home. It includes informative pages on common mental health conditions and there is the option to complete a quick quiz to provide you with a personalised wellbeing plan (called a Mind Plan). https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/
  • Mind https://www.mind.org.uk/
  • Some people feel more comfortable communicating online rather than on the telephone or in person, so if you are struggling with your mental health, but finding it difficult to talk about it then Mind's Elefriends online community could be a good place to start. It offers a safe space to listen, share and be heard and is ACCESSIBLE WITHOUT AN APPOINTMENT. For more information visit: https://www.elefriends.org.uk/
  • Mind also has a confidential information and support line, Mind Infoline, available on 0300 123 3393 (lines open 9am - 6pm, Monday – Friday).
  • Mens Health Forum: https://www.menshealthforum.org.uk/
  • Young Minds : https://youngminds.org.uk/

If you need urgent help text YM to 85258 : free 24/7 support across the UK

If you are a parent needing help contact the helpline on: 0808 802 5544 or use the contact form online.

  • Rethink: https://www.rethink.org
  • Breathworks:https://www.breathworks-mindfulness.org.uk/mindful-self-care-for-troubling-times

What to do in a Mental Health CRISIS

If you feel you may have seriously harmed yourself or you feel like you might attempt to end your life, you need urgent medical help. Please:

  • call 999 for an ambulance
  • go straight to A&E (if it's safe to do so)
  • or call your local crisis team, if you have their number

*All information is correct at the time of publishing. Use of this material is subject to your acceptance of our terms and conditions.

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