Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority men in the UK are…
More likely to be given a severe mental health diagnosis than any other group
4 times more likely to be detained using formal powers (e.g. being sectioned) than white men
More likely to be prescribed medication rather than offered alternative therapies (e.g. psychotherapy)
Men in the UK are…
3 times more likely than women to take their own life. – Samaritans
In the last 2 years, rates of suicide amongst men under 25 has risen by 31%. – Office of National Statistics (2018)
Statistically men (especially BAME men) are less likely than their white/female counterparts to go to a GP about mental health. – Mentalhealth.org.uk
Mental health statistics:
1 in 4 people experience a mental health issue at least once in their lifetime- Mind
1 in 8 young people experience a mental health problem. – Time to Change
27% of men from lower-income households have reported experiencing depression at least once in their lives. – Mental Health Network
What am I looking for?
Know what to look for can be difficult- we all have our ups and down so how do you know when having a ‘bad day’ becomes a ‘mental health’ issue? For a full list of mental health concerns and signs go to our blog, but for a quick overview keep reading…
Most doctors will ask the following regarding any mental health concerns:
How long have you been feeling this way?
Depending on what has been going on in your life, if your feelings have been there consistently for two weeks or more, they could qualify as a clinical diagnosis. This is nothing to be nervous about, it just might suggest that there is something more going on to make you feel the way you do.
Have you avoided people/activities as a result of how you are feeling?
If your feelings have impacts on your every day life (e.g. been the reason you have missed work/college/school, abandoned plans with your friends or avoided your family) it would be a good idea to talk to someone about it.
If you have stopped enjoying things that you used to do, this might also be a sign that there is something going on. For example, if you used to stay up to date with a Netflix series you loved, but now feel like you can’t concentrate or just don’t care, this could reflect a bigger sense of disconnection that you might be feeling.
Has your sleep pattern changed/ been disrupted?
If you now sleep way more or way less than you used to, this might be a sign that there are feelings that need to be addressed. It is also possible that you might fall asleep easily but wake up frequently during the night. Poor sleep will only make you feel worse and maybe increase feelings of being irritable and frustrated.
Have your eating habits changed?
Both experiences of low mood/ depression and anxiety can change your appetite. You may have a complete loss of appetite and feel nauseous all the time. You might also feel an increase in appetite and binge eat. The important thing to be aware of is the change- if you are aware of a change in appetite as well as any other signs, you might want to talk to someone about why this might be.
Have you had thoughts regarding hurting yourself/ending your life?
So many people are scared of this question, so sometimes it comes as a shock. But it is an important question to be honest about. If you have ever considered self-harm, ever hurt yourself intentionally, ever considered ending your life or ever tried to take your life, you need to speak to someone. There are so many people to talk to, but if you would rather talk to someone you can trust, open up to them now.
That’s a myth!
MYTH: Everyone will judge me if I say there’s something wrong
TRUTH: Some of our relatives still don’t really understand mental health and think illness is just a demon! But most people are understanding. Think about the men that you know who have been open (e.g. Stormzy, Dave, Kid Cudi…) Do you think they are less of a man? People are more understanding than you think.
MYTH: You can’t fix mental health so I’d rather not try
TRUTH: It depends what you mean by ‘ fix‘. Of course we can’t make negative emotions disappear forever because this is a normal part of life. BUT help is available to manage whatever you are experiencing. This could be medication, talking therapy, Cognitive-Behavioural therapy or a range of other choices.
MYTH: I’ll lose my job if I need help for mental health
TRUTH: It is against the law to discriminate against anyone based on mental health. Plus, lots of people with a mental health condition hold down a job (and a family and a household) very successfully.
MYTH: Medication just messes you up more
TRUTH: It can be tricky to find the right medication for you, but lots of people successfully use medication to manage their mental health. There are lots of other ways to have good mental health including eating well, exercising regularly and spending time with your real ones.
MYTH: A real man shouldn’t need to ask for help
TRUTH: Says who? If you’re thinking about your dad/mum/uncles/aunties generation then don’t. Our generation is facing so much more pressure than the generations before us and it’s okay to get support.
Also, no-one is trying to be a victim. Our message is for men to support each-other and just open up the conversation about what’s going on with them. Being open with people does not make you weak.
MYTH: If I ask about suicide, I might put the idea in someone’s head
TRUTH: Don’t be scared of asking the question. You cannot ‘put’ the idea in someone else’s mind. The worst that will happen is someone might say no, but the best case is that you give someone the opportunity to share something that might be causing them pain.