This week is Men’s Health Week which provides the opportunity to highlight issues facing men’s health and well-being. It’s well documented that men’s mental health is a national issue with three times more men dying by suicide than women. That’s a horrible statement but it’s fact and it’s something we should not hide away from or avoid discussing.
I debated whether sharing this blog because of its harsh reality but if we’re not educating and vocalising the problem it will never improve.
1 in 4 people in the UK have a mental illness (although this is expected to increase following the impact of COVID) and, as many of you may be aware, we advocate the importance of mental well-being. With that in mind we wanted to share some wellbeing tips for men who may be struggling with their mental health now.
1. Get out and get active
According to Men’s Health Week, men who are inactive are 60% more likely to suffer from depression than those who are active. But what if you work long hours or lead busy lives? The good news is that even a short walk, even just 15 minutes daily, can improve your emotional wellbeing. So maybe try a brisk walk at lunchtime, walk to the shops instead of driving, try walking the dog more often or take the kids to the park at the weekend.
2. Take control of Money worries
Life can be hard at times whether its money worries, job stress, relationship problems or loneliness and isolation. Debt is one of the leading causes of stress amongst men in the UK, a money and mental health survey stated that 86% of respondents with experience of mental health problems said that their financial situation had made their mental health problems worse. Men in particular stated money as one of the biggest stress factors in their lives. There are plenty of resources that can help you manage your money, but if it’s all too overwhelming, a financial counsellor can help you take control of your debt and put a plan in place to help you get back on track.
3. Understand that it's OK to seek help
Sadly, the stigma attached to talking about mental health is still prevalent, especially for men. Did you know that only 36% of referrals to the NHS on this topic are for men? Many men struggle to acknowledge they are experiencing the mental health issues that lead to suicide, and a recent study found that 70% of men avoid talking about their mental health all together. Don’t suffer in silence – talk to someone, if not a professional then your partner, friends or even colleagues. I can’t stress enough how vital it is that if you are experiencing persistent and overwhelming stress, anxiety and sadness that you do reach out to a professional to get help.
4. Make company a priority
Dealing with mental health issues can be extremely isolating. Studies show that quality social connections decrease the chances of mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and developing addictions. COVID has had a dire impact on people being able to interact with one another which has led to many people feeling increasingly lonely. It’s important to make a conscious effort to try and encourage social interaction whether that’s online or in person.
This week menshealthforum.org have launched the CAN DO challenge which focuses on the five ways to wellbeing, which are five things we can all do that are scientifically-proven to help us feel better.
The Five Ways to Wellbeing are:
CONNECT -Feeling close to, and valued by, other people
BE ACTIVE - Taking part in regular physical activity
TAKE NOTICE - Being aware of what is taking place in the present.
LEARN - Continuing to learn throughout life
GIVE - Participating in social and community life.
If you want to know more about the CAN DO challenge or the five ways to wellbeing please visit https://www.menshealthforum.org.uk/can-do-challenge