Men's Health Awareness Week takes place from 10 - 16 June and is championed by the Men’s Health Forum. This year the focus is on men's health by numbers; looking at the key numbers that men need to know about their own health and the statistics that policy-makers need to know including the impact of inequality and deprivation on men's health.
Men, did you know that...
37 - a waist size of 37 inches or above puts you at an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer?
150 - men should aim for 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week?
14 - a maximum of 14 units of alcohol a week should be drunk by a man?
75 - 75% of suicides (3 out of 4) are by men?
Source: Men’s Health Forum
This latter statistic is shocking and absolutely blew me away. It took me back to a recent conversation with a male client where we were discussing how even in today's society, men still feel the burden of not being able to show their emotions and need to silently bare the weight of the world on their shoulders.
Does your dad, brother, son, uncle, husband or partner know that he doesn’t have to take it all on his shoulders? Do men feel able to talk freely about how they feel? Are they aware of the risks of bottling everything up and not giving themselves an outlet to work through their fears?
With the stigma of mental health for men being a significant barrier, we as a society have a responsibility to help men recognise that it is OK to seek support when they feel the chips are down or that they are taking too much on. At the very least men need to know it is OK to take regular time out from the fast pace of life.
The British Journal of Psychiatry suggests that economic and social changes are eroding traditional sources of male self-esteem. According to the Mayo Clinic, male depression often goes undiagnosed and with only 9% of men actively reporting that they experience depressive thoughts on a daily basis, it is important that we help to lift the lid on mental health and get the message out there that our mental health is just as important as our physical health...and we wouldn't not ask for help if we had broken our leg or were living with a life-limiting illness, right?
Worryingly, the Men's Health Forum have found that men are less likely to access psychological therapies than women with only 36% of men being referred to the Increasing Access of Psychological Therapies, an NHS programme that offers interventions approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for treating people with depression or anxiety.
“No-one should keep a stiff upper lip at the expense of their own well-being.”
— Prince William, in a recent interview with Forbes Magazine.
Men, how can you support your mental health?
A 2010 meta-analysis by the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that treatments such as massage helps to ease the symptoms of mental health by reducing stress levels, lowering heart rate and blood pressure and boosting mood and relaxation by triggering the release of hormones oxytocin and serotonin . Massages are more than just indulgences, they are proven health and mood treatments. If a man took time out once a month to receive a massage they would be decreasing the risk of depression and other mental health issues. We offer a wide range of massage therapies here at Haelan Therapy from deep tissue massage such as Holistic Massage and Dynamic Body Realignment through to Shiatsu massage and Sound Massage, and encourage men to take time to relax and de-stress.
Equally, talk therapy such as counselling or coaching are highly effective treatments for mental health issues. Where men often don’t like the idea of talking about their feelings and emotions because of society pressures, we need to raise awareness that talk therapy does not need to focus entirely on the emotional aspect but can also discuss thoughts, behaviours, and lifestyle issues which all play a role in mental health and can enable you to focus on the elements of your life that you feel are holding your back. At Haelan we offer Transformation Coaching, a highly effective talk therapy which gives you the space and opportunity to unlock self-limiting beliefs and view your personal and professional worlds through a different set of filters.
Has anything in this post resonated or piqued your interest, please do be in touch.
Today we can start to make a significant change and support the men in recognising that their mental health matters.
Rebecca Louise Kelly
Transformation Coach & Touch-Talk Therapy Expert