Men’s Mental Health Awareness comes with a lot of stigma, but there are some small steps you can take to improve on this.
November is all about Men’s Health – and it’s the perfect time to get talking about difficult topics. That’s why in this article we’ll discuss men’s mental health Awareness & suicide prevention, alongside the benefits of taking part in Movember.
Signs that you’re struggling with your mental health
Men are three times more likely than women to commit suicide. Early intervention can save lives, which is why it’s crucial to have these difficult conversations about men’s mental health.
Mental health conditions among men can go largely under the radar for a variety of reasons, whether due to society’s expectations or being taught to ignore your feelings.
Signs and symptoms of mental health issues among men often include:
- Increase in risk-taking behaviour such as taking drugs or gambling
- Feeling irritable, frustrated or like you’re on a short fuse
- Getting angry more often or noticing an increase in aggression
- Escapist behaviour such as working long hours or drinking to excess
- Withdrawing from friends, family, work or social events
- Loss of interest in sex or issues with performance
- Feeling anxious, sad, low, empty or hopeless
- Thinking about or making plans around suicide
- Changes in appetite, weight gain or weight loss
Symptoms vary for everyone, and it’s important to get to know your mind and warning signs so that you know when to reach out for help.
If you or anyone you know has suicidal thoughts or idealisation, you can call The Samaritans 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 116 123
Suicide is still often seen as a highly taboo subject within society. Men who experience suicidal thoughts may fear being judged, seen as weak, or simply feel as though no one could understand. Signs that someone might be suicidal include:
- Talking about death or suicide
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Giving away belongings or money
- Engaging in risky behaviours
- Saying goodbye or writing letters
- Becoming uncontactable
- Harming themselves
So, what can you do if you or someone you know is suicidal? The most important thing to do is seek immediate help: Ways to get help fast include:
- Contacting your GP and booking an emergency appointment
- Going to A&E or calling 111 for out-of-hours help
- Contacting the mental health crisis team
- Calling the Samaritans on 116 123
If you’re looking after someone who is suicidal, it’s important to stay with them until they receive professional help. If you or the person you are looking after is in immediate danger and you can’t guarantee their safety, don’t hesitate to contact 999 or go straight to A&E.
It is always better to be safe than sorry, and the emergency services are there to support people that are in danger.
How to manage your mental health
We’ve talked about all of the signs and symptoms relating to mental health, how to tell if you’re in a crisis, and how to take immediate action to get the help you need. Now it’s time to talk about medium to long-term solutions, to help get you feeling better and back to your usual self.
1. Reach out for help
First things first, it’s time to reach out for help and get the support you need, just as you would with any other medical issue. You can get in touch with your GP who can help you with a referral to NHS mental health services or talk about potential medication.
You can also reach out to a personal counsellor or therapist to help you get to the root of the problem, and openly discuss your thoughts and feelings in a confidential and non-judgemental environment.
2. Create a support system
It’s important to create a robust support system with specific actions in place to help support you whilst you are feeling low. This network of people could include your manager at work, a trusted friend or family member or a mental health support worker.
3. Rest and Sleep
A lack of sleep can wreak havoc on your mental health, as your brain needs to go through several stages of sleep during the night to help regulate and process emotions. Try to sleep in a cool, dark room at the same time each night, avoid tech use before bed and minimise caffeine and alcohol.
Not only does exercise help to promote the release of those feel-good chemicals, but it can help shift your focus from an internal one to an external one.
In many instances, depression can create a mental block between you and your front door. This is why taking those first steps doesn’t have to feel so large from the start. This can entail thinking up or planning where you would go and what you would see. What would your dream walking trail be? Note down what you could see, hear, smell or feel.
Through this visualisation, your next goal of acting on that walk doesn’t seem so scary. It is vivid, controlled and has clarity.
Set realistic goals to start with, even if it’s just a 10-minute walk around the block. Walking can also be a great way to socialise, so take a friend along or join a local group to help you stay focused.
Benefits of taking part in Movember
Movember is one of the leading charities that has a simple aim – to change the face of men’s health. From prostate cancer to suicide, Movember tackles a range of hard-to-talk-about issues, raising crucial awareness and funds to support over one thousand men’s health projects.
Each November, the charity encourages people from all walks of life to support the cause, whether it’s growing a moustache, pledging regular donations or taking part in a fundraising event. This financial support is crucial to help Men’s Mental Health Awareness – and save lives.
The charity seeks to tackle mental health stigma head-on and helps to give men the confidence and access to resources they need to feel better. Their website talks about easy ways to start conversations and how to take action to prevent things from getting worse.