While the moustache has provided a symbol of this valuable month, it has also been instrumental in breaking down barriers and opening up the ability to talk about mental health in general as well as the specifics of men’s mental health.
While men and women struggle with all manner of mental health in equal measure, it is almost universally acknowledged that the way different genders handle mental health is different, and certainly the way society has facilitated the discussion around it historically has been different.
Phrases like ‘man up’ and ‘big boys don’t cry’ have been highlighted as damaging rather than innocuous, for the subtext they convey, and the power of the language we use around men’s mental health. The impact of language has been vital to recognise.
It is to the great credit of celebrities including the Princes Harry and William, that mental health in general, but in particular for men, is now something that we are beginning to discuss much more openly in a bid to prevent the horrors of feeling isolated.
We understand that openness when discussing men’s health as a whole can be identified as a literal life saver when it comes to diseases such as testicular cancer as well as the depression and anxiety that can lead to suicide.
While the big discussions are vital to be having however, it is the everyday that we all need to find our way through, and more often than not it is the small things that are hard to handle. Anna Williamson, TV presenter, counsellor and author or the hit book Breaking Mad, is outspoken about her own anxieties and mental health issues, and in her book discusses daily challenges such as how to handle a panic attack when you’re travelling on the tube.
She told us:
“I documented having a panic attack on the Tube the other day, and when I had my son I was walloped with postnatal anxiety. If we take the pressure off and learn management techniques, we can learn it’s ok to just ‘be’. Don’t measure yourself.”
Mental health charity Mind stresses the importance of regular exercise, even if it’s only a small amount, and looking after your physical health with a good diet and plenty of self care as and when you can manage it.
The emphasis is on a little and often, as with most things, and here are some of their other tips which can make a big difference to your everyday:
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