Mental health issues are literally killing us right now. In 2017, 5821 suicides were registered in the UK - 75% of these were men. It's the biggest killer of men under the age of 50 than anything else including cancer. That means that every day 12 men take their own lives in the UK alone - that's one life lost every two hours.
My aim for my clients (and myself) is to help them become fitter, healthier and more confident. I know first hand how it can be pretty much impossible to be in peak physical condition if you're not in peak condition mentally.
We spend so much time in the gym and looking after ourselves physically that we seem to be forgetting that mind frame is a key component to reaching this goal of becoming the best possible version of ourselves. Mental health is interlinked with our physical health and many other aspects of our day to day lives. So why do men ignore it so much?
Men who speak out about their mental issues fear being labelled as inferior, weak, broken or not 'manly' enough. How many times do we hear someone get told to 'man up' or how many times have we said it ourselves to someone without thinking about the underlying consequences that might come with it.
If men assume that other people are going to have that reaction it's hardly surprising that so many guys keep quiet about how they're feeling or try and ignore the situation. It's another fact that men are less able to spot the signs of mental health issues than females and also less likely to seek help wether it's professional or simply by speaking to a friend.
This whole toxic masculinity epidemic is causing male suicide rates to escalate rapidly and alarmingly. We have this whole fixation of what 'normal' male behaviour and it's killing over 4000 of us each year. We've somehow got to a point where men having emotions and feelings of low self esteem, depression etc. is deemed to be not 'normal' - lets get real, it's 2019 not the dark ages.
Modern day life is tougher than ever and we all have so much more going on than ever before, so it's probably safe to say that at some point we all feel massive amounts of pressure.
What we often forget is that things like depression are caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Just like many other illnesses it means something isn't working right inside our body. We have no problem going to the doctors for a cold, or a rash or headaches and we need to start feeling the same way about mental health. Until we do things won't change.
Men need to realise that (wether they suffer with these problems themselves or not)....
It's OK to fell depressed.
It's OK to feel anxious.
It's OK to not have your life together.
It's OK to feel sad and low.
It's OK to feel overwhelmed.
But it's not OK to ignore these problems and it's not ok to suffer all this alone or in silence.
What is great right now is that so many influential males are coming out and speaking up about their own struggles with mental health. Celebrities like Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, Brad Pitt, Stormzy, Wentworth Miller, Bruce Springsteen, Olly Murs and a whole load more.
The more we speak out about it the less of a taboo it becomes and the more people who are suffering will realise that they are not 'weak' or 'weird' or not 'normal' - most importantly we as men need to realise we are not alone no matter how tough things may feel. The more light we shine on this the less of a stigma it becomes.
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