Together For You throughout the month of November are running a campaign to encourage Men to look after their mental health and wellbeing by seeking help early. By asking the question “Are you trying to remain strong and silent?”, Together For You is encouraging men to talk, to ask for help or to simply say to a friend or loved one “I’m not feeling myself”. Together For You is a mental health and wellbeing project funded by the Big Lottery Fund providing services across Northern Ireland.
The stigma that surrounds mental health in addition to the reluctance to admit there is something wrong is quite literally killing men, who are three times more likely to die by suicide than women (77% of those who completed suicide in Northern Ireland between 2005 and 2011 were men). Men are also three times less likely to visit their GP and four times less likely to visit a pharmacist than women (National Statistics, 2015). This stereotypical view that men should remain ‘strong and silent’ needs to change, which this campaign hopes to highlight also. Asking for help isn’t a weakness, it’s a strength!
Speaking out and challenging the stigma of mental health is courageous, and doing so may just help to save not only your life, but the lives of other men who are suffering in agonising, lonely silence.
Dan’s story highlights that help does help……
“I have been in long term depression since 2002. I felt like no one could help as they didn’t understand. This left me isolated even more, which made the spiral downwards worse”
I then asked for help and received 10 weeks of counselling support through the Together For You project with Relate counselling to try and bring about a little awareness and understanding about how to deal with myself on an everyday basis. The counsellors helped by having an impartial view of the situation, teaching me about overcoming any problems by looking down on the problem and not seeing it from one angle only but many different views.
Counselling works but only if you let it. It can’t be used as a tool to prove you are right and the other person is wrong. It is used to be enlightening, to help you see others perceptions and maybe a perception you didn’t think of, hence you are learning about yourself.”
Other men who have been brave and asked for help have said:
“Without help, today I would maybe still be in my bedroom in my parents’ house avoiding the world instead of contributing to it and being part of it”, Michael (Together For You Beneficiary)
“Before getting help I felt frightened, confused, sad, no energy, low self esteem. Now I best describe myself as: happy, confident, high energy, motivated, high self esteem…..Loving Life!”, Jerry (Together For You Beneficiary).
So if you notice that you are feeling more stressed, sad, angry or agitated, feelings of helplessness or hopelessness, overly tired or detached from friends or family, it could be early warning signs of mental ill-health not to be ignored.
Help is available. Pick up the phone or drop us a short email