Many of us still feel ashamed at confessing our own struggles and that seems to us to be a travesty, at its core, is the fear of judgement by others. If everyone struggles at some point or other in their lives, where is the shame in struggling? How can we judge others for being like ourselves? It’s possible that by acknowledging that we all find life difficult at times it’ll be easier to talk openly about our individual difficult experiences.
The factors which prevent men from dealing with their inner issues until they’re at a point of crisis, can’t be ignored. It goes to the very heart of what we understand about being a man. If we are taught as boys that the highly emotional turmoil we go through has to be hidden away, or channelled into sport or playground violence, because expressing hurt or pain or worry is ‘girly’, then we are thoughtlessly condemning generations of men to a repressed, limited life. Which may well be dangerous for themselves and others.
What is required is a rethink about masculinity. And, to be clear, by masculinity we mean the attitudes and behaviours associated with being a man. Attitudes and behaviours which can vary widely depending on location, circumstance, culture, and which can therefore be shaped or refined. Men are dying and living in distress, and while there are top level issues around how this society looks after its people, particularly the working class, there also needs to be a reflective cultural push to challenge what it means to be a man, and create a framework for men to be able to admit vulnerability and find greater expression.
ManHealth is a Community Interest Company who provide support to men through a range of methods including training and peer support. We support men experiencing mental health issues through our peer support groups which are all ran by male facilitators who have a lived experience. Our training is centred on health inequalities affecting men and we campaign to raise awareness about men’s health.
The peer support project is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund.
Working aged men (25-54 years old) account for the largest number of suicide deaths in the UK. Suicide is the biggest killer of men aged 50 or under.
ManHealth wanted people to gain a real insight into the insidious way Depression can affect people’s lives and relationships. We commissioned David Napthine to write 6 original screenplays about the symptoms of depression and how they affect the life of Geoff and Kate. We wanted to show how Depression consumes your day-to-day life and interferes with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and have fun; and the feelings you have when depressed – such as helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness – which can be intense and unrelenting and become life threatening.
This is the second video - Mr D and Geoff talk business.
Depression is a low mood that lasts for a long time, and affects your everyday life. But because of the stigma attached to depression, men will often talk about feeling angry or irritable rather than sad or down. But depression is different from these feelings in that it consumes your day-to-day life and interferes with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and have fun. The feelings you have when depressed – such as helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness – can be intense and unrelenting.
At its most severe, depression can be life-threatening because it can make you feel suicidal or simply give up the will to live.
This stigma contributes to many men not seeking support until their depression is very severe, if at all. This can place men at an increased risk of taking their own lives – the greatest risk factor for suicide is untreated depression.
Fortunately, more and more men, including professional athletes, musicians, actors, lawyers, businessmen, writers, tradesmen, teachers, men in the military, and everyone in between, are ‘going public’ about depression and taking control of their health.
This site will provide you with tips and tools, information about professional services, and stories of success that show you how depression can be overcome.
It starts with you recognising depression and then making important changes in your life to overcome it. It takes courage. It takes strength. It takes work. But we know that it can be done.