The Power of Raising Awareness and Reducing the Stigma of Male Mental Health...
Date: Friday 08 Jun 2018
We did many events during mental health awareness week for a lot of organisations who are realising that supporting the well-being and mental health of their staff has a beneficial result, especially with male colleagues, here is an email that we received from one of the attendee's...
Firstly I’d like to commend the speakers for their courage, I have nothing but admiration for them, some parts were truly harrowing and they spoke with such honesty and at times self-deprecating humour that I couldn’t help but be drawn to them, I think most will relate to much of what they said in some way, the “suit of armour” analogy was very apt and they really did put a different perspective on things that whilst you may be taking whatever life throws at you it doesn’t necessarily mean you are dealing with it either mentally or emotionally, they really did give me food for thought and if I’m honest may even make me a better person for it.
It’s very refreshing to see that male mental health had its own focal point, the statistics actually made me catch my breath, 12 men a day, 84 a week, bigger killer than cancer will stay with me for a long time so a huge thank you to the speakers, brothers in arms and my employer's for supporting something that clearly needs to be addressed.
If any evidence were needed of the impact last week had on me I would like to share a story which strangely happened only a few days after the session.
I went to the gym the other day where I was going about my business as usual when I saw a guy I have spoken to twice in my life, I couldn’t even tell you his name despite having had 2 conversations with him previously, I saw him sitting on a bench staring into space, some 10 minutes later I noticed he was sitting in the exact same position staring into space, for some reason the session came into my mind so I approached him and asked him if everything was ok, almost immediately he said no not really I’m really struggling at the moment , I found myself sitting talking to him for around an hour where he gave me his story, outwardly you would never know there was anything wrong with him, he looked and even sounded completely normal, as time went by he would get upset, a little confused and clearly in need of help, I told him about MHAW the Samaritans and brothers in arms and found myself saying listen if you ever feel that way and you see me around, grab me and we can have a catch up, after around an hour he seemed in a far better place and said he hadn’t laughed like we had for a few months before thanking me for listening to him and saying he was going to reach out to brothers in arms to see if there was any way he could get involved with them in some capacity, charity work, volunteering that kind of thing.
Would I have approached him had I not attended the session, I honestly don’t know, I think we would all help a person in need that we know but would we do it for someone we didn’t, I did and know for sure that highlighting the issue in the way it was done last week at the very least had heightened my awareness and made me look at things differently.