It’s good to talk: why outdated stereotypes mean men are unwilling to discuss mental health.

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With this week marking the annual Mental Health Awareness week, many took to social media to share their success stories and support for others.

However reports show that men are more likely to struggle to open up regarding the matter. Statistically, three-quarters of suicides in the UK are men, with outdated social stereotypes of men being the face of strength instead making them weak and unwilling to open up.

Men’s Health charity Movember, encourages people globally to raise awareness for not only mens mental health but male specific cancers, through something as simple as growing a moustache.

They have committed themselves to reducing the number of males taking their own lives by 25% by 2030.

But there are so many more ways to get involved and raise money, Staffs Union President, Connor Bayliss, has taken a huge part in fundraising ready for this Movember.

mens mental health movember
Student Union President Connor Bayliss

“I’m putting on charity football matches, raffles, bake sales, i’m getting the other officers involved so we are gonna do a 12-hour bike ride.” Connor explained.

“You don’t even have to grow a moustache, you can do an event, run a sport, anyone can get involved. It’s literally called ‘grow a mo save a bro’ but that’s just one part of many things you can do with it.”

Staffs University Union offers a multitude of services aimed at helping those with mental health carry on with their studies. While they are not male specific, Connor explains how they make all their services available for all kinds of students:

“One of the best things we do, we avoid gender stereotypes with all our branding,” he said.

“‘Ask Angela’ for example, it has both male and female to avoid the idea that only females are the ones to be made to feel uncomfortable in venues, it can be men as well.

“But obviously that’s just a stereotype that gets sent around.

“The union already has a lot set in place, we work with sports teams to try and challenge barriers and its imbedded in all of our group committee training as well.

“We also offer mental health first aid awareness so if we don’t have people that are trained for it, we always make sure that they know where to assign those people to so everyone knows there is always a direction to go in and helps always available.

“Along with our big white wall which is our 24 hour service that people can talk to overnight.”

Outside his role of Student President, Connor, like many, has his own story for wanting to raise awareness and promote the message that Men Feel Too.

“I’m trying to push Movember heavily because I’ve been in positions like that where without speaking you won’t get help,” he said.

“I guess people are afraid to almost be judged by it, but it’s that standard society set where men shouldn’t talk and men shouldn’t have to come out and men should just deal with it how they are and clearly that’s not the case.

“It’s getting better but I generally think there is still a very heavy stigma around men having this man up category almost and being made to feel like they should be the face of strength and not being able to talk about themselves when actually its quite the opposite.”

As with anyone struggling with mental health it is important to take the time to reach out and talk to someone, be it a professional or trusted friend.

Movember podcast presenter Adam Garone sat down with film maker Morgan Spurlock to discuss the importance of having someone to talk to when things get tough.

“You have to have somebody that you can vent to, its really important.’ Spurlock said. “Me and my guy friends will have guy conversations, we are usually sitting in a bar somewhere having a pint, find time wherever we are just to like check in and talk, we’ll call each other all the time. Those friends are invaluable.”

Talk. Ask. Listen. Encourage Action and Check In. Do your part and stop men dying too young.

To listen to the full podcast, get further information and see how you can sign up to raise for mens health services visit Movember.com. Take a listen to our short radio package discussing the stigma surrounding mens mental health below.

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