International Men’s Day
November is Men’s Health month and today is International Men’s Day.
At lunch time I turned the TV on and it was great to see the ITV takeover of Loose Women, for Loose Men. Well done to Marvin Humes, Iain Stirling, Ronan Keating and Roman Kemp, for raising awareness of men’s mental health, it would be fantastic to see more open conversations like this.
I’ve been working as a therapist and coach for over 18 years and there has definitely been a huge shift in awareness and understanding of mental health, which is amazing, and things have definitely changed compared to when I first started out.
Today I would say I see an equal split between the number of men and woman that I help, but there is still a massive stigma attached to mental health in general, but especially Men’s mental health. It’s often seen as a weakness, a failure and because it’s usually silent and invisible, there’s often a lack of understanding, support and empathy.
Some of the statistics I’ve been reading today are quite alarming,
– Suicide is the biggest killer in under 35’s in the UK
– Suicide is the largest cause of death for men under 50
– 75% of all UK suicides are male
– Three times as many men as women die by suicide
– Men aged 40-49 have the highest suicide rates in the UK
– Men report lower levels of life satisfaction than women according to the Government’s national wellbeing survey
As these stats reflect, in the most serve situations Mental health is definitely a silent killer. But also, for those living with it every day, it can be life debilitating.
Mental health, mental wellness, mental wellbeing or mind fitness as I like to call it, covers such a wide area of emotional and psychological problems and disorders, it simple terms it covers your thoughts, your feelings, your moods, your behaviours and this in turn can affects your ability to deal with day to day life.
Some of the areas covered by mental health include stress, anxiety, grief, low self-esteem, unwanted habits, addictions, eating disorders, trauma, abuse as well as other chemical and biological disorders for like ADHD, depression and bipolar.
Put simply, if you are human, mental health is an important part of your life and wellbeing.
No man, woman, child or human is invincible, or immune from being impacted by their mental wellbeing!
I say the support and empathy isn’t always there, because often the understanding for someone who has a physical injury, or physical medical condition is very different to someone who is struggling with their mental health, but why is it perceived so differently, just because you can’t see it, it doesn’t make it any less real!
The more awareness that is raised and the more conversations that can be had, the better for everyone and the more we can help the younger generations grow up in a world with more awareness and empathy towards Mental Health the better.
For me, the greatest area for improvement around mental health, is the awareness that mental health can be developed and enhanced like physical fitness, which is why I often refer to it as mind fitness.
Just like the physical body, much can be done for prevention, even when things are going well and you feel ok, you can do mind prehab, like physical prehab, to try to prevent injuries occurring, there are tools, techniques, and lifestyle strategies that you can learn and utilise, to develop and maintain your minds fitness.
But in the same was if you were to get a physical injury, you can get rehab/physio to help improve and overcome the injury, you can also apply techniques and strategies to improve your mind fitness.
Whenever I explain it like this to my clients, you can see a shift, almost instantly clients feel empowered that rather than their mental health control them and be left to chance, that they can take some control and responsibility for themselves.
But just like physical fitness, the best approach is to be consistent. You don’t do some physical exercise once, or twice and expect your physical fitness to be sorted for ever! To reach and maintain a good level of physical fitness you have to be consistent and your mind fitness is exactly the same.
It’s not what you do once in a while that matters, it’s what you do on a regular basis.
I would like to do more to help with Men’s Mental Health, so along with my regular blog posts, video and podcasts, I’m thinking of adding some episodes, or doing a season of episodes and interviews dedicated to Men’s Mental Health.
If you are a man, or have a man in your life would you be interested in this? Would you like to know more about men’s mental health? Do you have any questions, or topics you would like covered?
Leave a comment, drop me a DM, send me an e-mail and let me know.
Let’s keep the conversation going, be open to talk, be there to listen and let’s do more to change the mental health stigma, and to help enhance the mind fitness for men now and in the future!
#InternationalMensDay #internationalmensday2020 #mensmentalhealth #mentalhealthmatters #mentalhealthawarness #stopthestigma #letstalk
If you, or someone you know needs some immediate help and support, contact your GP, or get in touch with any of these organisations, it might just be the help you need…