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Men's health this November (November 2020)

These short blogs have been written by two members of the Health in Mind team who support and promote men’s mental health in Midlothian. 

Malcom Paul, Peer Support Coordinator in Midlothian

Men don’t talk about their mental health enough. We need to encourage men to talk about how they are feeling from a young age. Ask them what is going on for them, look at peer pressure, how things are at home, their worries, their fears in everyday life.

The rate of suicide in men has tragically risen over the years. Men often keep things bottled up, not knowing how to talk about things or who to talk with. I think the bravado of men’s culture, where you would get ‘the mickey’ taken out of you, or you’d be put down for talking about these things puts people off opening up.

I think we need a change in society. This includes changing the curriculum at schools, parents being open and honest, and people offering support to their friends. We also need to not be derogatory to people or make fun of them when they are open and honest about how they are feeling. This has to start with someone, somewhere, or we will continue to have high rates of suicide in men. I am aware that it is not that easy, but if nothing changes then nothing changes!

I hope you will join us in working to create a society where men feel comfortable and able to talk about how they are feeling.

John Murphy, Project Worker in Midlothian

There are lots of different factors that impact on the mental health and wellbeing of men, including uncertainty about finance or employment, pressures on relationships, isolation from not getting to see family or friends.

For many men, there are no easy answers and people can turn to unhealthy coping strategies such as drinking, or hiding away from their issues - which can make things worse.
So, who can men talk to when they’re looking to talk about their mental health and wellbeing?

Some people might not want it to be their families, as they don’t want to be seen as being a burden. They might also worry that friends will think they are weak. Some people may be concerned that they will potentially lose their job if they mention mental health difficulties to an employer. Or, they might think they are not able to articulate their feelings to professionals because they are overwhelmed or uncertain about what is happening to them.

Those working to support mental health in our communities have recognised the need for us to engage with men. In Midlothian, Health in Mind has partnered with Bonnyrigg Rose to offer a Midlothian Men Matter group to encourage men to talk and receive peer support.

We also provide a range of ways to support men to improve their mental health and wellbeing through individually tailored coping strategies and signposting to appropriate services.

At Health in Mind, we really do have your mental health at heart.

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