Today we are going be discussing you guys. That’s right men, this one here is for you.
I wanted to write a piece because you know what, we as a society don’t talk about you and your mental health, that is until someone of fame takes their life.
As children you’re taught to “man up”. Which honestly is the most awful phrase. Man up is not something that we should be using. It implies that men aren’t allowed emotion and certainly aren’t allowed to show it. I used to be guilty of using this, but I have actively made an effort to knock this on the head.
Men from an early age are taught that showing emotion is the worst and makes you less of a man. It really doesn’t boys. As of 2015, almost two thirds of all suicides are male. Suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK. in 2017 alone, there was 5,821 registered deaths from suicide equating to an average of 16 suicides a day. There is a mortality rate of of 11.6% per 100,000 persons per year. Rates of suicide have in fact increased by 60% from the 1960’s. Now in 2019 over three quarters of all suicides are male. First step is breaking the stigma on suicide.
As I said earlier, we only talk about male mental health and feelings when someone of “note” takes their lives due to mental health. There is a big social media storm and within weeks it’s forgotten about again. I want you to know that my inbox and time is always open for you if you want to talk. I don’t care if you message me at 3am, I’ll do my best to create you an open and safe space to talk about what’s going on.
Being someone who is mainly friends with guys, I worry that you are struggling more than you let it on. That’s why I sometimes act like your mum and question you multiple times about how you’re doing and how you’re feeling. I know it’s annoying, but hey, I’d rather irritate you with my care than have you suffer alone… because if I ever lost any of you, I’d be a fucking wreck.
Mental health is an incredibly important subject no matter your gender. If you’re struggling, I implore you to reach out to a friend and simply tell them you’re not right. I know it’s hard man, but people understand. Mental health is a less taboo subject than it used to be and your friends will understand.
If you’re worried about someone, reach out. Message them, invite them for a pint or go see them and talk to them. Express your concern. I know many of you guys, from personal experience, struggle to talk about your feelings, but you got to put that shit called pride to the side. How you feel is worth the conversation because even if you boys don’t say it to each other, you love and care about each other. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your boys about it, talk to some of your female friends. Your friends wanna hears what’s up man, we fucking care.
If you’re really struggling, go see your doctor. There is no shame in talking to your GP about your mental health man. Don’t be a trooper, go talk to someone. I’ve done it. I’m not ashamed to admit that. If you need someone to come with you then go for a beer afterwards so you can chew the fat and chat shit, hit me up. I’ll come with you. It’s not all about simply talking about how you feel but getting those feelings tackled.
You need to know you’re allowed to feel and vocalise those feelings. You’re allowed to have emotions and show that emotion. You are still all burdened with the pressures of an archaic identity. You don’t need to conform to the strong, emotionally neutral and fully in control identity that society has set for you. You also have the pressure of the current social standing to look good, have six pack gym bodies and hit those gains with your protein shakes. Your meat vessel isn’t the only important thing, your mind is too. Social media also doesn’t help, spending your time looking at everyone’s best bits while being overly aware of all your negative bits. Boys, you don’t need to all be alphas.
I pledge that my door will always be open for you when you feel strong enough to talk about the fact you feel weak.
Remember, you are important. You are loved.