Male mental health week starts on Monday and this is something that means a lot to me as I have lost two incredibly good friends and one I was close to in primary school to suicide. I honestly don’t know if talking to professionals would have helped two of them as they both had gone through some pretty awful stuff during their 27 years. If nothing else Josh and Ste definitely lived rock star style lives and they say rock stars die at 27.
I know many blokes that live their lives bottling their thoughts and feelings up for the fear of “not being man enough” through toxic masculinity. Men are humans and they have feelings too; we should all feel like it is normal to talk about things that make us feel sad, lonely or angry. The two guys that commited suicide was only in the last decade and there was roughly a year in between them both. I specifically remember thinking I needed to get hold of my best friend and let him know anbout Josh before he heard it through the grapevine as they were his best mates.
Even now I worry about his mental health and he bottles so much up I know because I do too, most of our conversations go like:
Me – you ok
El Husko – yeah
Me – liar
El Husko – meh I’m a hipster what you gonna do
Me – glad I’m emo
We both know that there are stuff bubbling in the background but neither of us wants to bring it up to the other. This happens far too often, to far too many guys. I certainly don’t want to find out that he has gotten to the end of his tether when he could talk to me or a few of his other mates.
00Steve doesn’t talk about stuff either but he really struggles emotionally and instead of talking through the little things he ignores them until he explodes and that isn’t helping him or me. For him a lot of it seems to coincide with him being on the spectrum and I always thought that my background in that would have helped but it really doesn’t!
Here are a few facts that I found disturbing around male mental health these were from 2017 and I sadly bet they are higher now:
- 76% of suicides are committed by men and suicide is the biggest cause of death for men under 35 in the UK
- 12.5% of men in the UK are suffering from one of the common mental health disorders
- Men are a lot less likely to access psychological therapies than women, with only 36% of referrals being men, reflecting the suffering in silence
I want to leave you with some male mental health helpines or websites:
Men’s Health Forum
24/7 stress support for men by text, chat and email.
This specialises in sexual abuse.
Men’s Minds Matter
This has many resources on many different aspects of male mental health
Please don’t suffer in silence if you need to talk there are so many avenues you can reach out and use.