Start the conversation: Men’s Mental Health

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Recent high-profile campaigns, documentaries and spokespeople like Stephen Fry's 'The Not So Secret Life of the Manic Depressive: 10 Years On' (BBC One) and retiring England Cricketer Jonathan Trott have launched the subject of Men's Mental Health into the public spotlight.
Some surveys suggest as many as 1 in 4 of us suffer from mental health problems each year, and 75% of all suicides (caused by a variety of mental health issues) in 2015 were men.

Suicide is now the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK. There are more charities and campaigns than ever before, committed to increasing awareness and education, offering help, advice and support to those suffering and to those around them. Despite this, however, most approaches to suicide prevention are much more effective at helping women. But a host of man-focussed charities such as CALM, Movember and Stop Male Suicide are specifically targeting men in need of help, through helplines and advice forums, as well as social media campaigns such as #ManDictionary, #BiggerIssues, #BoysDoCry and the new campaign from Time-To-Change: #InYourCorner,  Find out more at

A YouGov survey commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation suggests the problem lies with an outdated culture of masculinity. The research found that almost a third of men with mental health problems failed to seek any medical help, compared to a quarter of women. Mark Rowland, Director at the Mental Health Foundation, said men need to "feel more able to share when they are vulnerable. This is not about being more of a man but being more in touch with humanity."

This is why the work the aforementioned Men's Mental Health charities do is so important. Not just giving those in need help and advice, but to cause cultural shifts in human interaction.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are supporting The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), and award-winning charity dedicated to preventing male suicide. CALM believes that many men are culturally inclined to believe they’re expected to be in control at all times, and failure to remain in control equates to weakness and a loss of masculinity. CALM offers support through helplines, webchats and their website; works to challenge the culture that prevents men seeking help through media and PR activities and pushes for changes in policy and practice alongside other suicide prevention charities.

While Emmy Award-winning actress Gillian Anderson is using her status to spearhead a campaign (MQ) that challenges mental illness by funding world-leading research. As well as increasing awareness, MQ also aims to make mental illnesses understood scientifically, effectively treated and preventable.

The stigma surrounding mental health means it’s often too difficult for men to seek professional or social help. Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of mental health charity Mind said “Too many men wrongly believe that admitting mental stress makes them weak... compounding this alarming situation is the fact that often when men do reach out for help the appropriate support is not there for them.”

Men's health charity Movember offers the following advice for men on staying mentally healthy and coping with the stresses of everyday life. To invest the time to encourage and celebrate our humanity.

●     Establish new and maintain old relationships.
●     Talk about the hard things in life, not just the good.
●     Take positive action at difficult periods of life, little by little.
●     Find things that make you feel great and help to de-stress.
●     Share what's going on. Especially if you feel overwhelmed.
●     Improve overall health and wellbeing through diet and exercise.

If you believe someone you know may be suffering from poor mental health, WebMD relates that sudden calmness, withdrawal, changes in appearance and making preparations are specific signs of suicidal mind. However the charity Mind advises that men often don’t display the traditional symptoms of depression (sleepless nights, feeling low) and are more likely to show aggressive behaviour and substance abuse, meaning the symptoms can easily be misdiagnosed.

For more information, here is a list of charitable organisations and websites offering information, services and resources to anyone in need:

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