Men’s Mental Health Week

By Olivia Gooderham

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

Mental Health and COVID

Mental health issues can affect anyone, and it is estimated that one in four people will experience a mental health problem in any given year. Despite being so common, many people feel unable to seek medical help or tell people what they are going through. The most common mental health problems are depression and anxiety, and these can range in severity.

In 2020, with the impact of COVID-19 it is more important than ever to reach out to loved ones, check in with them, and be there for them. For many, COVID has caused isolation, loneliness, and stress, which affects mental health. During the COVID period of 2020, there was a high-level increase in men who reported self-harm, depression, anxiety, and loneliness (Gov.uk 2020). Only 19% of men in a recent study by Men’s Mental Health Forum (2019) would take time off of work, to seek help for anxiety or low mood.

Why aren’t some men feeling free to open up?

BMI Healthcare (2021) conducted a survey via Twitter to ask men if they would get help for their mental state, and if they wouldn’t, why? Many men cited stigma and societal attitudes towards mental illness as the reasons they find it difficult to open up about mental health issues. With worries of how they would be perceived, they stated that they may be seen as someone to be afraid of, weak or not a ‘real man’. This highlights a large stigma around men’s perception of mental health and seeking help.

What can be done?

“Many individuals’ mental well-being has been challenged by the lockdowns and insecurities of the last year and it’s not over. As we emerge from what we hope will be the worst of the pandemic, questions, concerns, and anxieties remain. Men’s Health Week 2021 (14-20 June) asks: how do we move forward?” (Men’s Mental Health Forum, 2021).

Men’s Mental Health Forum are focusing on the ‘CAN DO Challenge’. The aim is for everyone to choose a ‘different way to wellbeing’ to try each day of Men’s Health Week. At the weekend, pick favourites and do them again! The 5 things are; connect, to connect with other people, (be) active, to move one’s body, notice, take notice of the environment around, discover, learn something new, and offer, to give or offer something to someone else.

MAN v FAT

Mental and physical health are linked to lifestyle factors. Our partners at Man v Fat Football – Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster have developed a programme that is exclusively designed to support overweight and obese men to improve their health and wellbeing. Contact them at football@manvfat.com or call 0333 006 8331 to get started.

Where can I find more information?

Visit Men’s Mental Health Forum at www.menshealthforum.org.uk or head straight to their ‘CAN DO Challenge’ page at www.menshealthforum.org.uk/can-do-challenge.

Other useful links

Samaritans- Call, 116 123. Email, jo@samaritans.org. Visit, https://www.samaritans.org/

SANEline- Call, 0300 304 7000.

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)- Call, 0800 58 58 58. Chat, https://www.thecalmzone.net/help/webchat/

Men’s Mind’s Matter- Visit, www.mensmindsmatter.org/self-help-websites.html

Mind- Visit, https://www.mind.org.uk/

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