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From fundraising challenges to unmissable resources, look out for the men in your life during men's mental health month this November, and beyond

BY  head writer at Happiful magazine.

Men’s mental health: it’s a topic that we must keep talking about. In 2017, 5,821 suicides were recorded in Great Britain. Of these suicides, 75% were men, with suicide being the most likely way that a man under 50 years old will die. And the numbers only increase for men in minority communities, including LGBTQ+ men, those from BAME backgrounds, and on a low income.

The causes of mental health problems and suicide are complex – often a result of numerous contributing factors. But, reflecting on the disproportionate number of men who experience poor mental health, charities and experts point to societal expectations – ideas about how men should behave, what it means to be masculine, the social roles that men are assigned, and the expectation to be strong, stoic, dominant, and in control – as the underlying forces.

These points alone are enough to raise some major red flags but, what’s more, men are also much less likely to access mental health support than women – making up just 36% of referrals to psychological therapies.

When it’s all said and done, it’s clear that we need to do more to support the men in our lives and, thanks to numerous life-changing organisations, the means and methods for doing just that are already in motion.

November is men’s mental health month. And this year, we’re rounding up some of the ways that you can get involved in campaigns to raise awareness, and reach out to the men around you

1. Go blonde for Brothers In Arms

Brothers in Arms is a mental wellbeing platform helping men to ‘manage their own mental fitness’, and stepping up for those feeling down, stressed, or anxious. With their NHS approved Brothers-Thrive app, they offer live mental fitness coaching between 8am and 8pm, Monday to Friday.

For November, the organisation are asking guys to go #BlondeForBrothersInArms, to symbolise a light shining on mental health awareness. Donations go directly towards continuing their free service, and the whole campaign is centred around sparking conversations and raising awareness of the issues that men face today.

Find out more at brothersinarmsscotland.co.uk.

2. Tune-in to the short film brought to you by CALM

From those at CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), Studiocanal UK, and HKX, comes the short film Brothers, directed by acclaimed director Hus Monfaradi.

Available to watch for free from Friday 6 November, the film explores a story of friendship, betrayal, and the realities of men’s mental health – all inspired by lead actor Michael Workeye’s life experiences and his own brother’s struggles with mental health.

A beautiful insight into life with mental health, and a launchpad for talking about some difficult topics, don’t miss Brothers.

Watch the film for free at brothersthefilm.com. You can also find support via CALM’s support line and website – call 0800 58 58 58 (UK) or access help via their webchat.

3. Reach out

There are many organisations out there that are dedicated to supporting men’s mental health, including:

  • Andy’s Man Club – men’s talking groups around the country. Find one near you, or join their national online group.
  • The Lions Barber Collective – a collection of barbers who have come together to help raise awareness for the prevention of suicide, the organisation offer training in how to speak about mental health and spot the signs that someone is struggling. Join their community, and locate trained barbers near you.
  • Men2 – support groups facilitated by qualified therapists, run by men, for men.
  • If you are in crisis and are concerned for your own safety, call 999, or go to A&E.
  • Call Samaritans on 116 123 or email them on jo@samaritans.org
  • Find more listening lines and information on Happiful’s guide to Where to Get Help.

4. Grow a moustache for Movember

There’s still time to sign up for Movember – the challenge to grow a moustache in November to raise money for vital men’s health causes.

The leading men’s health charity, Movember ‘looks at mental health through a male lens, focusing on prevention, early intervention, and health promotion. And they’re aiming high, pledging to reduce the rate of male suicides by 25% by 2030.

And you can help them get there. Whether you’re up for growing a mo, or you want to fundraise in another way (exercise challenges, bake-offs, or simply spreading awareness), we can all be a part of Movember’s vision of a better future.

Find out more about Movember’s vital work, pledge to take part, and discover how you can ‘mo like a pro’ by visiting uk.movember.com.

5. Learn about the specific challenges that men face and have a conversation

Change starts to happen when we take some time to really understand the challenges that are standing in our way. There are so many fantastic resources out there for learning about men’s mental health, some of which have already been mentioned in this round-up. But you can find out more about men’s mental health by visiting:

Equip yourself with the knowledge you need to support the men in your lives. And never underestimate the power of offering a listening ear.

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Brothers in Arms