So this week I started a new round of CBT and for the first time in 20 yrs, my mental health CBT practitioner is a man. Let that sink in for a minute. THE FIRST TIME…IN 20yrs.
It’s got me thinking. Where are all the men talking about their mental health?
Look at all the websites and campaigns in the media. NEARLY ALL WOMEN. The majority of the people blogging and tweeting, trying to get guys to open up are nearly all women. The blogs, websites, chat rooms and resources are nearly all staffed by women. Look at those mental health charities’ stalls; they are nearly all staffed by women. Even when they’re pushing men’s issues !!
This is ridiculous !
Suicide is now one of the biggest causes of death for men under 50 in the UK; Not heart attack or stroke (although if you’re depressed or anxious your chances of succumbing to one of these is also higher). Suicide and self harm is far higher amongst men than women, even though more women are registered with mental health issues. There is obviously a problem. Sucking it up is obviously NOT WORKING guys.
How are we going to fix this ?
If you want me to couch it in terms that ‘guys’ will understand; “It’s time to step up ”. I know there’s stigma and I know it’s scary, but there always will be until we stick our heads above the parapet. IT IS SCARY but this is a war ! We owe it ourselves and our loved ones to be the best we can be. 1 in 4 adults have a mental health problem in the UK so I guarantee you, there will be mates that do understand what you’re going through- and if not now, at least some of them will in the future. They’ll be glad to know they’re not alone. But it won’t happen if we don’t speak up.
And the scary thing is, we could be having the same conversation about testicular cancer, prostate’s or any number of issues. We are underestimating ourselves everywhere !
Taking the first step is hard, picking the right person is a risk, but I’m so glad I did. Sure some people didn’t take it well and I’ve lost some friends along the way; but in a way, i’m glad to know they weren’t reliable. What I’m left with is a solid support network that I can rely on. Now I know, i’m not alone, i’m not a freak and I can cope far better with my depression with a plan and a group of people who will catch me if I fall.
Time to think again chaps? There’s a big BIG internet out there just full of help. You don’t need to make a song-and-dance about it, you just need to reach out.
A huge thank you to Adam for sharing his thoughts. It's something that can't be said often enough. It's brilliant that he can put it in such a succinct way. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.