In England 1 in every 8 men has a mental health problem such as depression, anxiety, panic disorder or obsessive compulsive disorder. Men aged 45-49 also had the highest suicide rate in England and Wales in 2019.
Men’s Health Week (14-21st June) aims to raise awareness of the health issues that affect men disproportionately and focuses on getting men to become more aware of health problems they may have and gain the courage to do something about it.
Gender stereotypes mean men are often expected to be strong, dominant and in control. While these aren’t inherently bad things, they can make it harder for men to reach out for help.
If you’re concerned and you recognise you are developing an issue, do try to talk to your GP. It can be daunting, but most people find that speaking to their GP and getting help and support can make a big difference.
As well as speaking to your GP, we have listed some simple tips on looking after your own wellbeing that can be a great place to start.
10 practical steps men can take to improve their health and wellbeing
1. Get talking. Speaking about your feelings is a big first step and can help you find a solution, or at least release some of the pressure you are under. If you don’t think you can discuss the problem with anyone you know, you can call a confidential telephone counselling service. If you work or have worked in the wider print industry, you can register for our helpline for free, or anyone can call the Samaritans on 115 123.
2. Keep active. Regular physical activity can increase our self-esteem and can reduce stress and anxiety. It also plays a role in preventing the development of mental health problems and in improving the quality of life of people experiencing mental health problems.
3. Eat well. Our brain needs a mix of nutrients in order to stay healthy and function well, just like the other organs in your body. A diet that’s good for your physical health is also good for your mental wellbeing.
4. Drink sensibly. Regular, heavy drinking interferes with chemicals in the brain that are vital for good mental health. It’s very typical to reach for alcohol when you are feeling low, but in the long run alcohol can contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety, and make stress harder to deal with.
5. Connect with people. Keeping in touch with people, whether it’s face to face, telephone or video call can really boost your mood. You don’t have to wait for a reason to contact someone, just saying hello is enough.
6. Take a break. A change of scene or a change of pace is good for your health and wellbeing. It could be a five-minute pause from a half-hour lunch break at work, or a weekend exploring somewhere new. Allowing yourself some ‘me time’ is not being selfish, it’s prioritising your own health and mental wellbeing.
7. Do an activity. Finding something you enjoy can provide a great sense of purpose. It can be anything; from painting to football, joining a Men’s Shed or dancing the Tango. Try some new activities out and see where it takes you.
8. Improve your self esteem. How you feel about yourself has a huge effect on your health and wellbeing. Men’s Health Forum has supplied some brilliant tips that can help to boost your self esteem, because you need to be a good friend to yourself too.
9. Care for others. Caring for others is a great way to build relationships and make you feel needed. How can you help those around you? If you need some ideas, how about searching for volunteering opportunities near you.
10. Join the CAN DO Challenge. Get motivated to make positive changes by joining in with the CAN DO Challenge. Try a new wellbeing action every day during Men’s Health Week and see what other men are doing too. You can do it!