Something that I have very much been wanting to speak about for a while, which has been further strengthened after the death of Chester Bennington, yet another wonderful soul that has been lost to mental illness. I myself have nearly lost one or two men in my life who mean the absolute world to me, and if this blog post can even just raise some awareness or give some help to someone, so be it, because no-one should feel imprisoned by society and their mind.
It is a fact that suicide has become the biggest killer in men under 35, and a large factor in this is the stigma attached to men seeking help- Men I know personally have struggled immensely in speaking out and seeking help. Of course, it can be terrifying for women too when it comes to recovery, but figures in recent years have shown that women are much more likely to search for help compared to men. It truly breaks my heart that in our modern day society, there is such a large amount of men suffering in silence, feeling that they have nowhere to turn and when in such isolation in themselves, this can lead to disastrous consequences.
So why are men are less likely to speak out compared to females in our society? I certainly cannot speak for individuals as everyone is different, but there is definitely a stereotype that men need to be strong willed, not showing distress or a cry for help; unfortunately, these stereotypes have been engraved into us over centuries, causing increasing difficulties in modern day society. Regardless, IT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED- men deserve so much more emotional and mental health related support. Stereotypes in society have caused men to build a wall within themselves in regards to asking/seeking for help and being able to show distress and sadness.
There is no doubt that improvements are not going to be made overnight; these stereotypes are difficult to reverse, like with anything to do with mental health, it is going to take time, a spread of awareness and a better network of support in place. HOWEVER, as readers, as advocates, as members of society, as well as relatives and friends of those around you, there is so much you can do!
Spread awareness through writing, speaking up, and reading. Take time out of your day to check on loved ones and if for any reason, you believe they are struggling, talk to them and help them reach a path to get help, whilst also remembering to look after yourself.
Also, if you are reading this and you yourself are struggling with your mental health, I have attached some links at the bottom, there are a range from some that specifically relate to men and some others that relate to everyone.
To all the men out there who may be reading this; dark times in your life will occur and there is absolutely no shame in asking for help and support, whether that be from professionals or loved ones. You are loved and you are most certainly no less of a man for having a mental health issue or even just showing emotion- None of us would be human if we did not have emotions or thoughts, whether they be positive or negative; it is how you get past the difficult times that is important and even though recovery can be terrifying and certainly not linear, trying to make that progress is something you should be incredibly proud of. Do not underestimate yourself, you are far more worthy and incredible than you may think you are.
Please know that anyone is more than welcome to contact me, whether you know me personally or not.
Until next time,
Links to mental health organisations- You can also go to your GP or a crisis team for help:
- CALM- https://www.thecalmzone.net/
- More mental health information/ figures for men- https://uk.movember.com/mens-health/mental-health and https://www.menshealthforum.org.uk/key-data-mental-health
- Samaritans- http://www.samaritans.org/
- Mind- https://www.mind.org.uk/