Men’s Mental Health Month

In November, The Mental Health Foundation are focusing on men’s mental health – a campaign for anyone who identifies as male or a man and whose mental health may be impacted by pressures associated with this.

Around one in eight men in England has a common mental health problem such as depression, anxiety, panic disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). However, this only tells us about mental health problems that have been reported – it’s hard to know if the figures really tell us what’s happening, especially when it comes to men’s mental health.

Other signs that might give a better picture of the state of men’s mental health:

  • 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.
  • Men are less likely to access psychological therapies than women: only 36% of referrals to NHS talking therapies are for men.

Men are also far more likely than women to go missing, sleep rough, become dependent on alcohol and use drugs frequently.

We know that gender stereotypes about women – ideas about how they should behave or look, for example – can be damaging.  It’s also important to consider how men can be damaged by stereotypes too. Society’s expectations and traditional gender roles can make it harder for men to reach out for help and open up.

Activities for Men’s Mental Health Month

4 Mindfulness sessions will be taking place this month, 2 of which are men’s sessions and 2 are mixed. These sessions introduce short practices that can help with stress, anxiety and depression. These techniques can also help us to find more fulfilment in everyday life. You do not have to have your video on, so there is no need to feel self-conscious – you can just listen to the techniques and practice them.   Book via the learning pool here.

There are things you can do to promote Men’s Mental Health Month. This could involve raising awareness of the Mental Health First Aiders, and/or following some of the tips below such as creating a motivational playlist as a team.  If you are going to promote Men’s Mental Health Month within your teams, please let me know what you have planned and how it went.

Please circulate the tips below to your male colleagues:

Tips for men – how to pick yourself up when things get tough:

  • Reach out – chat to a friend or Mental Health First Aider when you start to hide yourself away
  • Have a chat with someone who will listen and not ‘fix’ – a friend, colleague, family or call the Employee Assistance Programme helpline
  • Follow social media accounts that you can relate to
  • Keep up with your routine – or add new structure to your day
  • Get outside for a short walk
  • Read a motivational or inspirational quote – to get perspective
  • Do something new like volunteering
  • Take up a new hobby
  • Get out of your comfort zone – feel a sense of achievement from this
  • Focus on breathing – breathe in and out slowly for 3 minutes
  • Switch off – in a way that works for you, with a book, film, video game etc.
  • Ask a friend how they are – doing something for a friend can make you feel better
  • Make a motivational playlist

Stop and pause – take time to check in with your head by writing or using mindfulness.

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