International Men’s Day

Yesterday marked the 19th International Men’s Day, celebrated across more than seventy countries around the world the day is designed to help show the positive value that men contribute to the world. The day has been used by charities and organisations to help promote mental health awareness amongst men.

In fact new research from the Time to Change organisation shows that nearly three quarters of men would say they were fine even if they were struggling with mental health problems even when talking to friends and family.

LSJ News spoke to Corey Hunter, 23 from Northumberland, who has suffered from mental health issues in the past. When I asked about his experiences he said: “Since I was around 16 it got progressively worse up to around the age of 20 but now at the age of 23 its more manageable. There is support however there is a very long waiting time for those who need help. Through my own experience I was lucky enough to be able to get support quicker than usual however that was due to the severity of my mental health issues.”

“I personally didn’t feel as though I could talk due to feeling as though I was being a burden”

Mr Hunter also agreed with the idea that men find it hard to talk to about their problems as he said: “I personally didn’t feel as though I could [talk to people] due to feeling as though I was being a burden however there became a point where I had to.” He also gave his tips for people that might be suffering from mental health issues as he said: “Put your hands up and admit to yourself that you have one, go find the help as quick as you can. Whilst waiting find a safe outlet to reduce your feelings of depression, stress or anxiety for even just a few minutes.”

The Time to Change survey also revealed that men often see the question ‘How are you?’ to be meaningless and almost 50% of the men surveyed said that ‘Just because people ask how you are, doesn’t mean they really want to know’.

Another concern was that some men don’t want to be a burden while others said they would only talk if they were confident that their friend or family member really wanted to listen.

Jo Loughran, Director of Time to Change said: “Our research shows that, as a nation, we find it hard

to answer honestly. This could mean someone close to you is struggling with their mental health”.

“This could mean someone close to you is struggling with their mental health – they might just be waiting for your cue”

The organisation also promoted several tips for helping friends and family members who may be struggling with mental health issues including,

  • Take it seriously, don’t judge.
  • Actively listen and ask open questions
  • Remember that you don’t have to fix the problem
  • A simple “that sounds difficult” can show you care.