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Movember and mental health

Thousands of men around the country are growing a mo for Movember, the charity that tackles men’s physical and mental health. From its inception in 2003, the Movember Foundation has grown to fund more than 1,200 projects worldwide.

Research concerning mental health in the UK includes: an ongoing online survey into the health and wellbeing of men in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK and USA; and a completed study by the Men’s Health Forum (England and Wales) gathering the evidence of ‘what works for men and boys in mental health promotion, early intervention and stigma reduction’.

Speaking out

One in eight men in the UK has experienced a mental health problem, yet men are much less likely to speak out about their issues than women. Not wanting to waste a GP’s time is cited as one of the reasons for not seeking professional help. Sadly, this is more than likely to be a contributor to the fact that three out of four suicides are men.

Work-related pressure is one of the biggest causes of stress in men’s lives, but so are financial pressures, particularly at Christmas – which is, of course, less than seven weeks away.

Change in behaviour

As most men would choose their partner to confide in first, please do look out for your boyfriend/husband if you know they are under pressure. Their behaviour may change, for example moodiness, difficulty sleeping, increased drinking or smoking.

Equally, if you have a friend, colleague or relative whose behaviour has altered – they may be coming in late to work, skipping meals, seeming vague – please start a conversation. Let them know that you are happy to have a chat, even if they don’t want to talk immediately.

You might get the response “I’m OK,” but if you suspect that to be untrue, do follow it up in a different way by introducing different topics over a period of time.

Student crises

The burden of too much work can also start at school or university. The rise in the number of student suicides is evidence that we need to tackle the issue of stress (which often creates anxiety and depression) much earlier in young people’s lives.

I know from treating student clients and helping them to beat stress, anxiety and depression how important it is to open up a dialogue. So please, talk openly about mental health to all the boys and young men in your lives, as well as the girls and women and encourage the belief that it is not weak to ask for help. It’s possibly the strongest decision they’ll ever make.

Find out more about a life free from stress, anxiety and depression.

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