As part of Lighthouse43s marking of Mental Health Awareness weeks theme of kindness I thought that I would focus on this blog being about mankind as in men being kind and in this context being kind to themselves.
I also discuss male suicide in this blog, so if you are affected by any of the content please check out the links below to organisations that can support you.
In England, around 1 in 8 men have a common mental health problem (anxiety and depression). However, men may be reluctant to seek support for their mental health or disclose problems to their friends and family (source Mental Health Foundation).
Buy why is this? Is this down to a caveman image of masculinity? ‘Man make fire!’ (said in a Captain Caveman voice), us men are the ones that are supposed to be running toward trouble, right? Not away from it!
The expectations of society do play a part in all of this, men and women are different and are traditionally expected to behave differently also, men are often expected to bring home the bacon and be the main breadwinners and to be the ones that are strong and in control; even if it may not seem it for them sometimes.
Unfortunately, research suggests that conforming to societal expectations around masculinity means that men are less likely to talk about their thoughts and feelings or seek help if things get too much for them. Sadly, this plays out in male suicide statistics, in 2017, in the United Kingdom, 75% of the 5821 suicides were men, and suicide is the largest cause of death for men under the age of 50.
I used to have a stereotypical view of counsellors as being pipe smoking men with beards wearing tweed jackets (I must say this was also my image of geography teachers but I was never really that imaginative) but as a male counsellor I know that this view I once held couldn’t be further from the truth. And you know what, its ok, not to be ok and reaching out for help if things get overwhelming is not a slight on your masculinity nor does it make you any less a man.
In other blogs this week we have spoken about kindness and how you can be kind to yourself these hints and tips are equally applicable to men as they are to women, so men……take some time to be kind to yourself and in the words of the late and great Bob Hoskins remember, ‘it’s good to talk’.