For World Mental Health Day (October 10) Halton Borough Council is launching a campaign featuring videos of four local men who are hoping to inspire others and help us break the stigma of men’s mental health.
Lee, Sean, Barry and Tom are all Time to Change Champions whose lived experiences of mental health are very different but all have a common theme – the stigma they experienced about talking about their mental health.
75% of suicides are men[i]. Although the reasons for someone taking their life are complex we know stigma contributes to men not seeking help for what they are going through.
There is still an expectation that men should hide their feelings, keep the ‘stiff upper lip’ and be strong and carry on in tough situations. But trying to maintain a strong façade when you are experiencing feelings of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts can be debilitating.
Talking about your feelings can be the first step on the road to recovery.
Our champions want to share their stories to encourage other men who are struggling with their mental health to talk to someone and seek help. Equally, they want to ask everyone to listen with an open mind, patience and above all not to judge or try and solve the problem themselves. For some tips on what to do if someone is struggling the Samaritan’s advice can be helpful:
All four videos can be found on the Halton Borough Council YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRVBJol2yUI&list=PLeXIVsKOQx2ar4upCpH5-TJBaKnmxvTxU
Sean hopes these stories inspire others to open up: “If sharing my story saves one life, it’s worth it.”
Cllr Geoff Zydagllo, suicide prevention board member, says: “How many times have we heard the phrase ‘man up’? There is still this perception that men shouldn’t talk about their feelings, that you should just keep your chin up and carry on. But what if you can’t? Talking about your mental health or asking for help doesn’t make you a weaker person. Quite the opposite. It’s okay to not be okay. Please, if you are struggling or suffering, talk to someone today.”
Our online Mental Health Information Point is a great first port of call for details of local and national organisations, information about mental health conditions and advice for people of all ages. www.halton.gov.uk/mhinfopoint
If you need urgent help call the 24/7 crisis line for people living in Halton, Warrington and Knowsley – free to call – 0800 051 1508. https://www.nwbh.nhs.uk/help-in-a-crisis
SHOUT – a free text based service for people of any age who find it easier to text than speak to someone. Simply text SHOUT to 85258 for confidential support.
CALM – helpline for men. CALM runs an anonymous & confidential helpline & webchat service for males 5pm-12am 0800 58 58 58 www.thecalmzone.net
If you know a veteran and you are worried about their mental health https://www.combatstress.org.uk/ can help.
Samaritans is available 24 hours a day to all people over 18. Call free on 116 123 or visit https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help-you/contact-us
If you are under 18 you can call 0800 1111 free or chat online 24 hours a day at https://www.childline.org.uk/get-support/