Between the 13th-19th June, the world acknowledges Men’s Health Week 2022. This annual event is organised by the Men’s Health Forum and aims to raise awareness of preventable health problems that disproportionately affect men and encourage them to gain the courage to tackle their issues.
The theme this year is ‘Time For Your MOT’ – which emphasises taking notice of what’s going on in your mind and body. As such, the campaign focuses on taking notice of all the health problems that have been brushed aside due to the pandemic.
Men and mental health
According to the Mental Health Foundation, approximately 1-in-8 men have a common mental health problem such as anxiety, stress, or depression. When left unattended, these problems can worsen and be detrimental to those affected. This is highlighted in current statistics: for example, in the UK, 3 out of 4 suicides are men. Furthermore, suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45. These statistics underline the importance of removing the stigma surrounding men’s mental health, helping men reach out, talk about their problems and seek treatment.
It is no secret that a stigma exists regarding men’s mental health, and sadly some men still feel uncomfortable discussing their problems openly. According to recent statistics, 40% of men won’t talk about their mental health with their friends or family. Therefore, many individuals suffer in silence. While the topic is becoming more prevalent with more awareness campaigns, there is still a need to help men feel comfortable enough to speak out about their mental health.
Identifying the symptoms
There may not always be clear signs you’re dealing with a serious issue, not just a bad day. If your life satisfaction seems to have taken a knock or feeling like you want to be alone a lot, there could be more going on. Here are some of the common signs and symptoms associated with mental illness:
- Anger, irritability, or aggressiveness
- Noticeable changes in mood
- Difficulty sleeping
- Avoiding friends and social activities
- Constant low energy
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Ignoring personal hygiene
Men often feel embarrassed or uncomfortable talking about their mental health. But the bravest thing you can do is tackle the issue before it becomes a bigger problem. You are not alone. Many other people are going through the same emotions and struggling to find the best way to cope.
How can you get involved?
There are several ways you can get involved with supporting men’s health. This could include fundraising. You can hold a raffle in your community or workplace or take up a challenge such as cycling or running. You can also use this week to educate yourself and those around you. The Men’s Health Forum have a vast array of downloadable material. These materials provide information about health issues that affect men in their everyday lives and can be used to help promote conversations/run events in your workplace.
Finally, you can volunteer. There are plenty of different volunteer roles available. You can help at a local charity or help organise activities for those suffering from mental health problems. Volunteering is a great way to make a difference in your community. Volunteering can also have benefits for you as an individual. Research shows volunteering can help combat stress and depression by creating a solid support system.