Men’s Health Week has just come to a close and I now want to spend a moment thinking about men’s mental health.
Suicide is the biggest killer among men under 45, with 12 men a day in the UK killing themselves. Think of all the publicity violent crime garners and then hold this reality. If you’re a man under 45, your death is most likely to come from yourself.
We will all know of someone who has taken their own life and the complex grief it causes families. This is a challenge for all of us. Men can feel ashamed about being frightened, vulnerable or powerless. They feel they have to keep it private, dealing or not dealing with it by themselves.
Think of all those messages we’re given about how to be a man. We may have been told ‘big boys don’t cry’, be a ‘brave soldier’ or even more recently ‘man up’, whatever that means.
We need a seismic shift in our thinking and feeling. Mental health isn’t a luxury. Mental health is as important as physical health. How can it not be? When we get stressed, our immune system shuts down to help us deal with the stress. Useful if you’re running from a sabre-toothed tiger in the last ice age, not so useful if you’re worried about stuff that won’t go away, money or status worries, job insecurity, relationship difficulties and so on.
The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) has been set up to help raise awareness of male suicide. CALM recognises the need to take the stigma away from men talking to each other and being real. We are not supermen, we are not invincible, we are human and able to help each other normalise whatever human thing we’re going through.
Have a look at CALM’s website to find out more about the #MarkYourMan campaign, which encourages men to support their friends like they would their favourite sports teams.
If you need counselling about any difficulties and you’re in the Aylesbury area, get in touch with Paul today.