Reach out and Speak up

With new information released pointing to a deepening male suicide crisis (a crisis that is much worse than previously believed), it is becoming increasingly important that we recognise risk factors for depression and anxiety in men. Depression and anxiety are among the most common health conditions experienced by men. Different things can cause depression and anxiety for different men, and sometimes it can be due to things building up over time. 

Risk factors for depression and anxiety in men.

Some of the risk factors for depression and anxiety in men include:

Life events like problems to do with relationships, employment, social isolation, separation or divorce and unemployment.

In my opinion prolonged or excessive job stress is a factor for mental health problems and accounts for a large percentage of depression in working men.

Family history of depression and anxiety

Drug and alcohol use.

Serious medical illness – the stress of dealing with serious illness and chronic pain can lead to depression.

On average, 1 in 8 men will have depression, and 1 in 5 men will experience anxiety at some stage in their lives. Men are less likely to seek help than women, with only 1 in 4 men who experience anxiety or depression seeking treatment.

Men are known for bottling things up.

There’s still a stigma that ‘real men’ don’t complain about their physical, mental or emotional problems. There’s a sense that real men stick it through, suck it up, work it out. Men say they would be there to support their mates, but they feel uncomfortable about asking their mates for help.

Reaching out is vital.

It’s important for men to have people they can talk to about anything, get things off their chest and know that they won’t be judged. Talking is the first step to feeling better. Talking about your feelings and finding the right words can be hard, but keeping quiet can make it seem worse.

Always:

1: Find the right person to talk with who is likely to be understanding. This might be someone you are close to and trust, like a friend, family member or colleague, or a health professional.

2: Always be kind to yourself and take everything slowly and at your own pace. Make time for yourself and practice mindfulness, meditation or yoga which can all have a massive and positive effect on the mind and your body.

3: Accept that people will react in different ways. Understand and try to accept that not everyone will be able or willing to support you. Try to appreciate their efforts.

4: Talk when you are ready about what is important to you. It’s your experience, and you are in control of what you share.

5: You may want to talk about how you’re feeling; any physical changes you’ve noticed like feeling more tired than usual; and how it has affected your day to day life.

6: Communicate as clearly as you’re able to, about what support you need at the moment. You may need to be clear that you just need someone to listen to you; and that your needs may change over time.

7: Focus on how you can help others (that might be your friends, your family or others in need) and set goals and work towards them. Keep a gratitude journal and make daily entries about things  you are grateful for.

It can be helpful to talk a doctor or mental health professional

Mental health professionals can help people make sense of depression, pain and stress. Without proper understanding or knowledge, people who suffer from depression and anxiety can feel alone and helpless.

It’s common when you are depressed or anxious to feel as though you have little control over things. Trained psychologists and counsellors can help you make sense of what you are going through, and work with you in navigating life changes and transitions.

Always remember, it’s ok not to be ok, talking is power and we are all stronger together, you are never ever alone.

Let’s all work together and reduce the figures of men who are dying from suicide.

If you need to talk please call:

Samaritans: 116 123

Breathing Space: 0800 83 85 87

Anxiety UK: 03444 775 774

Men’s Health Forum: http://www.menshealthforum.org.uk

Steven Connelly

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