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Importance of Men’s Mental Health

Each day, in the UK, thirteen men commit suicide. Phil Jones, Senior Lecturer, Mental Health Nursing, was our focus as we examine men’s mental well-being. We asked him what support is available for men and how they can take better care of their mental health.

1. Talk to someone

In terms of men’s mental well-being, the main problem is self-imposed isolation by not speaking up. 40% of men report feeling isolated and unable to share their problems with others. But, as the old saying goes, a problem shared can be halved. Talking to someone can be helpful, whether they are a friend, partner, colleague, or professional. They may also be able offer the advice and support you need.

2. Neglect the’man-up’ stigma

The old saying “man-up” is a misguided sense that bravado, which teaches boys to not express emotion and to seek out help. Phil recalls his childhood experiences as a child.

“I was 10 years old when I took a trip to a dry slope with my primary school. I returned home with a spine fracture to my tibia. I was ten years old and wanted to stay home from the doctor. It’s not clear where the defiance or arrogance is from, but it’s evident that something in me made me want to manage it on my own. After much negotiation, I ended up spending the evening at my GP. Then I went to the local hospital. There I was fitted with a thigh high cast that would last for 6 weeks. Although I could not have done it, my tibia fractured and I was in terrible pain, it didn’t stop us from trying.

“There has been much talk lately about toxic masculinity and while I’m sure some messages men get don’t help, it is possible that the determination to take control and not seek help is a part. Gender studies have shown that women tend to be more connected to and aware of their bodies than men.

3. Get active

Clinical studies have shown that exercise can improve men’s mental health and help you sleep better. Even light exercise like a walk or brisk walking can boost your mood. To get fresh air, exercise and a change in scenery, try getting off the bus earlier.

4. Set up an appointment with a professional

Phil worked as a mental nurse with young men who wanted to do it all themselves. Sometimes they have let him help them, sometimes they have had to metaphorically fall before accepting his help. You can always talk to your GP, and they will be able to offer any help you need.

5. Talk

It’s not necessary to feel isolated, especially with the support systems and societies in place. You can always count on the help of others and all societies offer opportunities for new relationships.