I have and will always continue to encourage people to reach out and seek help when they are in times of distress. No matter how small or big the problem may seem, it’s never a bad thing to seek guidance or ask for help.
However, I think that for many men this doesn’t feel like an option. There is a huge stigma around men and being ‘weak’ for showing emotion. A macho stereotype which means they are never affected by things and can handle everything life throws at them.
I’m sure we’ve all used phrases such as ‘man up’ or ‘grow some balls’ as a way of demonstrating strength in a difficult situation. But phrases like this give emphasis to the stereotype that men can’t be weak or vulnerable.
An article was recently published (1st Sept 2020) in The Telegraph titled “Male suicide rate hits two-decade high in England and Wales”. The article gave evidence to show that the rate of deaths recorded in 2019 was the highest it has been since 2000, with 16.9 deaths per 100,000. The ONS (Office for National Statistics) said that men accounted for 3/4 of these suicide deaths.
A report published by Samaritans, Men and suicide: Why it’s a social issue, states that “Men from the lowest social class, living in the most deprived areas, are up to ten times more likely to end their lives by suicide than those in the highest social class from the most affluent areas. Men in mid-life are the age group most at risk.”
Strength is not defined by our sex; being male does not make you any less worthy of seeking help. Know that you do not need to suffer in silence. You do not have to go through this alone.
Useful Mental Health Support Services info:
- Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM): 0800 58 58 58 (daily, 5pm to midnight)
- Men’s Health Forum: www.menshealthforum.org.uk
- Mind: 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm)
- Rethink Mental Illness: 0300 5000 927 (Open 10am to 2pm, Monday to Friday)
- Samaritans: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline)
- SANE: 0300 304 7000 (Open 4:30-10:30pm every day)