MENtal Health Matters

Updated: Nov 11, 2021

Society, and the joy that is social media, all contribute to the stereotype that a strong man should be able to deal with anything and deal alone. This mentality contributes to depression, harmful escapist behaviour, and suicide. But what is the definition of a strong man?

With the Mental Health Foundation showing common mental health issues affect one in eight men, and the highest suicides rates being in men under 50, we need to talk about men’s mental health. It’s not a dirty word or a weakness, despite what stigma may have led you to believe. Everyone, absolutely everyone, has mental health. And as a result, people can have mental ill health, just like everyone has a body and sometimes it gets injured or sick. Identifying issues, talking about treatment, and focusing on getting better is usually the response, which is pretty similar to dealing with mental health concerns.

Starting with something active is a great place to begin. One of the best ways to get your endorphins going and clear your head is by heading outdoors. After a much too long stint stuck inside, thanks pandemic, getting back to the outside world is something we all need. Not only is getting your body moving good for your physical health, it’s also been shown that spending time in nature has reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression. A self-esteem boost is also an awesome perk of spending time outside.

A great companion for walking can be talking. While it may not be your default option, talking is one of the best things you can do for yourself. If you’re not used to vocalising what you’re going through, it may seem daunting, but your mental health will benefit from offloading. Samaritans’ research showed that four in ten men felt negatively impacted by the isolation of the pandemic, so taking a step to reconnecting can be helpful. Starting with something seemingly small can be a great way to get going, like checking in, or just saying hi to a mate or a family member. Plus, it will probably make them feel good to hear from you too.

It can also be helpful to reach out to someone you don’t know. By talking to someone neutral, with experience and empathy, you can share things you may not be comfortable or ready to talk about with friends or family. Mighty Men Mentoring has got you covered if you’d like to test the waters with a free discovery call. Mentoring can be the lifeline you need when you’re unsure how to start talking about your mental health. It’s a journey that can provide advice and insight into helping you grow and focus on key aspects of your life. A helpful sounding board to become your mightiest self.

A recent study by Campaign Against Living Miserably, CALM, and Instagram, showed that 58% of men said the pandemic negatively affected how they feel about their bodies, which has impacted their mental health. Unrealistic standards of muscle definition, wealth and lifestyle are everywhere on social media, the trick is trying not to fall into their trap. Figuring out your sense of self is difficult enough when others’ ideals of being a ‘strong man’ are blasted at you every day. You need to focus on you. Redefine what it is you want and what being a man means to you.

Unfollowing any pages or people that are making you feel inadequate or even just a bit iffy can help start the process. A positive way to reclaim social media is by following pages that offer support and make you feel good. Have a look on our Instagram for tips, inspiration and to join the Mighty Men Mentoring community.

We are here for you, and we hear you.

If you need to talk immediately in the UK, contact NHS 111 on 111 or contact Samaritans on 116 123.

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