Stigma within mental health and men.

Part of the stigma that still exists about mental health for men is that men have greater difficulty talking about their own struggles than women do. You may notice that online you see more talks, more blogs, and more online content on the subject from women than men.

 

Why does it seem to be more difficult for men to address their own mental health?

There are still some outdated stereotypes as a man suffering from depression; men as a source of Strength, dominating positions of power, the hunter-gatherer, the idea that strong and silent is alluring/attractive, the “show no weakness” bravado of heroes in our media.

 

In many of these macho images, there is little room for showing poor mental health. The men who are looked up to in society (famous, wealthy, successful, powerful) are not always ready to admit their struggles in public and that can leave the “average bloke” feeling uncertain about speaking out.

 

It is great that the tide is turning for men one by one, more of these men are coming forward and openly addressing mental health; footballers, politicians, actors, anyone can talk about it.

 

We do not consider that these men are weak or failing by speaking out, in fact, they are the brave ones.

 

They are the ones who are “manning up”

 

That expression is still often used for the wrong reasons, unfortunately. The concept that mental health can be conquered by simply acting more “like a man” is misguided.

 

Depression, anxiety, personality disorders and schizophrenia are no more or less difficult based on whether you got a Y chromosome in your DNA.

 

There has never been a better time to seek – and be accepted for – help with your mental wellbeing. Always remember that you can get better, the first step has to be yours.

 

If you are suffering from poor mental health, it might feel like the hardest step to take but it can lead to easier and better steps too.

 

Let’s consider the following?

 

• Talking to someone you trust, a close friend or family member, maybe even your doctor

• Considering why you find it uncomfortable asking for help and whether those reasons are actually stopping you from getting the support you need

• reading more about mental health and the varied guidance and advice that is easily accessible

• Attending A New Hope Peer support group which is based is salcoats North Ayrshire or the many groups that are circulating around the country that are free and open to anyone 

• consider what are your weapons in this fight (i.e. the ways you combat poor mental health) – it could be anything from regular exercise to spending time with friends (for me, creative writing helps to lift me during the darker days)

• finding stories and case studies that will help you understand what other men have been through

• getting involved in the great campaigns and activities that raise awareness of mental health – we support the campaign State of mind which is about men’s mental health

Talk about your feelings

Talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled. It’s part of taking charge of your wellbeing and doing what you can to stay healthy.

 

Eat well

There are strong links between what we eat and how we feel – for example, caffeine and sugar can have an immediate effect. But food can also have a long-lasting effect on your mental health.

 

Keep in touch

Friends and your support network that you have engaged with with A New Hope.

We can all offer support and different views from whatever’s going on inside your own head. We can all help keep you active, keep you grounded and help you solve practical problems.

 

Take a break

A change of scene or a change of pace is good for your mental health. It could be a five-minute pause from cleaning your kitchen, a half-hour lunch break at work or a weekend exploring somewhere new. A few minutes can be enough to de-stress you.

 

Accept who you are

Some of us make people laugh, some are good at maths, others cook fantastic meals. Some of us share our lifestyle with the people who live close to us, others live very differently. We’re all different.

 

Keep active

Experts believe exercise releases chemicals in your brain that make you feel good. Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and help you concentrate, sleep, look and feel better. Exercise also keeps the brain and your other vital organs healthy.

 

Drink sensibly

We often drink alcohol to change our mood. Some people drink to deal with fear or loneliness, but the effect is only temporary.

 

Ask for help

None of us are superhuman. We all sometimes get tired or overwhelmed by how we feel or when things go wrong. If things are getting too much for you and you feel you can’t cope, ask for help.

 

Do something you’re good at

What do you love doing? What activities can you lose yourself in? What did you love doing in the past? Enjoying yourself helps beat stress. Doing an activity you enjoy probably means you’re good at it and achieving something boosts your self-esteem.

 

Care for others

Caring for others is often an important part of keeping up relationships with people close to you. It can even bring you closer together.

It’s important to take care of yourself and get the most from life.  Mental health is about the way you think and feel and your ability to deal with ups and downs. 

 

Making simple changes to how you live doesn’t need to cost a fortune or take up loads of time, but it can make a big difference.

A New Hope Peer, Support and social group.

Please join us once every fortnight.

Saltcoats Library

Springvale Place

Saltcoats

Ayrshire , KA21 5LS

The next group takes place on Tuesday 15 October.

Steven Connelly

New Hope: Mens Mental Health Support Group.

We as Men are known for bottling things up. But when you’re feeling down, taking action to look for support is the most responsible, strongest and most bravest thing a man can do.

Trying to go it alone when you’re feeling down increases the risk of depression or anxiety going unrecognised and untreated.

Depression is a high risk factor for suicide, and plays a contributing role to the highest suicide rates in men

On average, one in eight men will experience depression and one in five men will experience anxiety at some stage of their lives.

Don’t to it ALONE,

A New Hope is always here for you. It’s only three days to go until our Men’s Peer, Social and Support group.

Join us on Tuesday 15th October 6 – 8pm

Saltcoats Library

Springvale Place

Saltcoats

Ayrshire , KA21 5LS 

(Every second Tuesday thereafter)

ALL Men Welcome. 16 +

Please come along guys, your never alone, don’t suffer in silence.

Looking forward to seeing you all on Tuesday. There is NO pressure to participate in any group conversations in any way. We are a safe, non judgemental, community environment. listening is the first step in reaching out and grabbing support, it takes a brave and strong man to do that.

Please keep spreading the word guys. Keep retweeting and sharing our New Hope group throughout all social media platforms and let’s spread the world of Mens Mental Health and reduce stigma and discrimination together.

#menmatter

#mentoo

#wearebrothers

#strongertogether

#YouAreNotAlone

#ItsGoodToTalk

#MentalHealth

#SupportMen

#Reachout

#Ayrshire

#itsoktocry

#neverbeashamed

#non judgmental

NEW Hope: Mens Mental Health Support Group.

Real Men DO Cry

This is a sign of strength not weakness and never be ashamed or embarrassed to open your heart and show your feelings.

Crying is such a vital, essential, powerful, special and one of the most beautiful emotional manifestations that as men we are capable of, so please don’t be afraid to cry. It’s not weak or powerless, it’s a natural emotion.

It’s only two days to go until our next New Hope: Men’s Mental Health & Support Group gathering.

Tuesday 15 October 6 – 8pm

Saltcoats Library

Springvale Place

Saltcoats

Ayrshire , KA21 5LS

(Every second Tuesday thereafter)

ALL Men Welcome. 16 +

Please come along guys and cry, laugh, joke and talk with us all.

We are a Peer support group facilitated by Keith, myself and Jamie we bring guys from all walks of life’s together with similar lived life experiences so that we can help,encourage and support each other.

Joining a peer support group can help you to develop effective ways of coping in a safe, friendly and supportive environment.

Looking forward to seeing you all on Tuesday. There is NO pressure to participate in any group conversations in any way. We are a safe, non judgemental, community environment. listening is the first step in reaching out and grabbing support, it takes a brave and strong man to do that.

Please keep spreading the word guys. Retweet and share our work throughout Twitter and all social media networks. Thank you.

#menmatter

#mentoo

#wearebrothers

#strongertogether

#YouAreNotAlone

#ItsGoodToTalk

#MentalHealth

#SupportMen

#Reachout

#Ayrshire

#itsoktocry

#neverbeashamed

#non judgmental

New Hope: Mens Mental Health Support Group.

Happy Saturday Everyone. 😀😀.

Have a chilled, restful and relaxing weekend. Making plenty time for yourself. Get some positive and happy vibes going deep within your soul, most importantly keep smiling 😀😀

It’s only three days to go until our second New Hope: Men’s Mental Health & Support Group.

Tuesday 3 September 6 – 8 PM

Whitlees Community Centre, Ardrossan, Ayrshire.

(Every second Tuesday thereafter)

ALL Men Welcome. 16 +

A safe, confidential, non judgmental, community space to meet with other liked minded fellas and be supported and listened to.

Grab a brew, let’s talk and start to take all the weight off your shoulders with men who can sympathise and understand.

There is absolutely NO Pressure to talk, and engage in conversations. You are just as brave and strong to come along and listen in, no participation required, no pressure.

Your experiences could really help, support, encourage and benefit someone else.

If your struggling or know a man that is point him in our direction please. You are always welcome.

Please spread the word, retweet and share Keith and Gav’s incredible and inspiring work throughout Twitter and social media in general.

Thanks for your support guys.

#menmatter

#mentoo

#wearebrothers

#strongertogether

#YouAreNotAlone

#ItsGoodToTalk

#MentalHealth

#SupportMen

#Reachout

#Ayrshire

#Breakthesilence

#nonjudgemental

#safespace

#mantalk

Ripped: Final Show at Edinburgh Fringe today

I couldn’t defend myself, fight back, I just froze what’s wrong with me.

I was always grown up to believe to man up, grow some balls, to fight back and protect myself. I was mentally tortured to always believe boys will be boys and boys are always responsible for absolutely everything in life.

I have always and still believed and never ever seen any issues with going out and drinking pints of Larger at bars even though I feel uncomfortable, but I have never ever seen any problem in that. I’ve just always thought that these actions were normal, every one did it and that’s what made me a man, and alcohol was a way to forget about my past.

As men we are supposed to be masculine and self-sufficient, we should be able to defend ourselves and others.

I just froze and I was raped what kind of man does that make me?

Steven Connelly

Ripped is an essential and vital piece of work. Its important that we encourage discussions around masculinity and Male rape.

Unfortunately today is the final day of this powerful play at the Edinburgh Fringe. It most certainly won’t be the end of #ripped.

If you are in Edinburgh I highly recommend it.

The play starts at 1 PM today

Underbelly Cow Gate

Venue 61

I look forward to hearing all your reviews.

Finding Hope, Digging Deep and choosing Life.

My name is Steven, i am a current volunteer with Epilepsy Connections with there projects within Glasgow and throughout Ayrshire and Arran which I enjoy very much.
My Favourite Food: Scottish Fish Supper ( you can’t beat them) 😂😂
Favourite Song: Comfortably Numb .Can i have a favourite album also? Pink Floyd: Off The Wall, a classic, and my list is endless 😂.
Favourite Movie: Oh that’s a difficult question, has to be Trainspotting.

My life was in an extremely dark place for about two years from 2015 till 2017 and am proud and privileged to say that epilepsy connections and epilepsy futures has absolutely changed my life!

As a result of graduating from the Epilepsy Futures programme a little over two years now, (crikey) and Epilepsy Futures is approaching there fifth set of participants later on this year.

I am successful involved in a whole range of new, exciting and fully supported opportunities which has been opened to me through this incredible organisation.

After completing my time on Epilepsy Futures, it was suggested to me that I should definitely consider becoming a Volunteer Peer Mentor with group two of Futures.

I grabbed all these excited and worthwhile opportunity’s and I haven’t looked back…this is where my volunteering journey really begin with Epilepsy Connections.

I have a huge passion and enthusiasm for supporting individuals living with epilepsy and I strongly believe in the importance of delivering positive messages and training to vulnerable groups, organisations and individuals regarding epilepsy and providing awareness and reducing the stigma and discrimination of suicide and people living with mental health conditions.

I want people to understand that although life with epilepsy and mental health can be really awful at times, with the correct support, guidance and information, there is light at the end of the tunnel and we will all get there together. My experience has changed my life, and I want others to have that experience also.

Discovering that you have Epilepsy can be one of the most challenging and distressing moments an individual has to experience and face in life. You may feel frightening, nervous, worried, panic stricken or even hatred. I can assure you there is support out there and your never ever alone. I promise to everyone that there is people out there would do care. I have the most wonderful and supportive Epilepsy Specialist nurse and Epilepsy fieldworker.

Its critical to keep in mind, these feelings you are experiencing are common of a person with an Epilepsy diagnosis – this is OK though and a perfectly natural element of confronting a burden that can be seriously life altering.

It is Important to state Epilepsy doesn’t have to prohibit you and define you from living a happy and fulfilling life, with the appropriate treatment and support, it is extremely possible to live a life of positivity, satisfaction, happiness and enjoyment. I have, i believed I was all alone, i felt that know one cared and i was always a burden and I would be better off dead, this is not the case now (well at times anyway)

There are a lot of misconceptions about what it means to be living with Epilepsy. Fundamentally , everyone’s lives are different, and how you manage your diagnosis wither it’s epilepsy or a mental health condition etc and move forward will vary from person to person.

At the age of 21, I was diagnosed with tonic clonic Epilepsy, after successfully accomplishing seizure free status from a long developing period of petit mall absence seizures) as a child, where I experienced 300+ per day for seven years.

There is an explanation to why these shocking and terrifying seizures had came upon me at four years of age but let’s not get into that.

Unfortunately it is what it is and with a majority of individuals epilepsy just happens and we have no control over them. I have almost been seizure free for for nine weeks, I hate counting, not something I do but onwards and upwards.

Epilepsy certainly does not have to stop you from achieving anything you want. it’s not the end of the world, it feels like that, but it’s not. Their is so many incredible and important support services nowadays, there is every kind of support for everyone, never ever give up.

I have not let my Epilepsy hold me back, for many years, amongst other life experiences. There were extreme periods of darkness, every day was extremely dismal, leaving the house was a massive challenge, putting on brave faces every where i went. However i have certainly realised, life is far to short, I’ve got a life and I am most certainly going to live it.

Thanks to Epilepsy Connections and Futures, i have learned that self-acceptance is key, however social acceptance requires huge efforts especially in the fight against stigma, which we often have to cope with on a daily basis, but, why should we?

Reflecting back on my time at Futures. I am generally filled with emotions as my life has changed immensely for the better.

I am not that young man anymore (well kinda) who was scared and embarrassed to leave the house in the event of a seizure occurring, awaiting the next episode and dislocated his shoulder.

I am exceptional and remarkably proud of my positive and successful outcomes and the influence and advantages that Futures has had on my life and for engaging in friendships that I definitely know will be friends and a support network for life.

I have discovered from my own futures life experiences that I have a passion, enthusiasm and determination to help support individuals living with epilepsy and people struggling with mental health issues.

i am absolutely embracing all opportunities with Epilepsy Connections since graduating from the Futures programme. I am honoured and privileged to now be a volunteer with Epilepsy Connections.

Since volunteering for Epilepsy Connections my skills and confidence have greatly strengthened, I have been able to present workshops and be a guest speak at a whole range of events that I would never have thought possible before being involved with the organisation.

I have also made lifelong friendships within the epilepsy community that are so important to me! As my confidence grew I have become more involved across the organisation…I also now volunteer to help support the operation of Epilepsy Connections Children and Families Project, which means that approx. every 6 – 8 weeks, we go and have fun with a different activity e.g the Go –Karting. During this volunteering I am able to help children with epilepsy and their families to access some quality time and fun, it is very close to me as I was diagnosed with Epilepsy when I was 4 years old.

I also volunteer to help support the operation of a monthly social group run by Epilepsy Connections, called Friends Connected, this is for service users who would like to come out, relax and socialise for a few hours at a local Ten Pin Bowling site. It is a fantastic way for people to make new friends and discover that they are not alone.

I am now in part time employment at the moment, which I am really proud and excited about. My role is a Community Pioneer as part of the CO – OP business helping to bring communities together.

I am delighted soon to be published in the Humans Of Scotland book as part of Health and Social Care Alliance.

The photo shoot for the book took place last week in Edinburgh which was fascinating, interesting and an exciting experience. I am was extremely anxious about getting professional photographs taken of myself, the photographer made me feel comfortable and put me at ease straight away.

Our First Minister for Scotland Nichola Sturgeon has written the foreword for the book and myself and my partner have both been invited to the official book launch through in Edinburgh that we are both looking forward to.

I am honoured and privileged to be shortlisted in the top three for the Inspiration Individual Award at this years Self Management Awards as part of the Heath Care and Social Care Alliance. I am extremely proud, passionate and delighted of what I am doing and achieving. Thank you everyone at the Alliance.

It has been an extraordinary and inspiring experience. I would absolutely recommend volunteering to anyone, it has opened up new opportunities for me, given me new skills and allowed me to meet some really special people. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that I have been fortunate to work with and meet during my journey over the past few years, too many to mention, you all know who you all are.

References:

https://www.epilepsyconnections.org.uk/

https://www.epilepsyconnections.org.uk/ epilepsyfutures

https://www.epilepsyconnections.org.uk/ get – involved

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/real-life/brave…

https://www.thenational.scot

https:// www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mentalhealth

https://www.alliance-scotland.org.uk/

https://www.alliance-scotland.org.uk/humansofscotland

https://www.alliance-scotland.org.uk/ /privacy-policy/self

Steven Connelly

Ripped Review: Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019.

Real men can do forty press up in a row, drink Tenants Larger or Stella like real men do right?

That hasn’t always been the case for Jack.

96 % of all male rape cases unfortunately Are unreported, men don’t want to talk and can’t and would rather suffer in silence.

Jack uses a heavy cocktail of cocaine and alcohol to numb his pain then out the blue, just one night, Jacks meets his attacker whilst out with a circle of friends that he had got into company with.

The story is heartbreaking, devastating and is essential and vital that we encourage discussions around Male rape and masculinity and how it feels for a man and a boy to be violated and penetrating in this way and the impacts It has for me afterward.

There is unfortunately only two shows left of this incredible play at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

I highly recommend this phenomenal masterpiece, if you are in Edinburgh please go. There is only two shows left, which includes today performance at 1 PM.

Today 24 August 2019: 1 PM

Tomorrow (Sunday) 25 August 2019: 1 PM

Underbelly Cow Gate (follow the cow)

Venue 61

Let’s start to have conversations about Male rape and masculinity. Thanks to this extraordinary play we will and I am looking forward to the future of #ripped. Thank you.

Steven Connelly