November is Men’s Health Awareness month. Charities like Movember, Blue Ribbon Foundation, Prostate Cancer UK, It’s On the Ball, Men’s Health Forum and Men’s Shed Association in Ireland and Northern Ireland promoting awareness of both physical and mental health issues for men and offering advice and services on how detect early symptoms, employ preventative measures and how best to treat and live with diagnoses.
Community Finance Ireland are dedicated to funding projects and organisations who provide vital Health and Wellbeing services. Some recent examples include Slane Men’s Shed in Co. Meath, Let’s Get Talking offices nationwide, Cork Counselling Services in Co. Cork and Public Initative for Prevention of Suicide and Self Harm (PIPS), Co. Antrim.
Men’s Mental Health
Every minute, somewhere in the world, a man dies by suicide- that’s over 510,000 men each year. Men are disproportionately affected by suicide, with three in four suicides being men. Risk factors that increase someone’s vulnerability to suicide include acute stress, low mood and social isolation along with the belief that they shouldn’t talk openly about how they are feeling.
How to Look for the Signs
Start by mentioning anything different you’ve noticed. Maybe he’s spending more time at the bar, coming into work late, or missing social events. Trust your instinct. Remember, we often say “I’m fine” when we’re not. So if you think something’s wrong, don’t be afraid to ask twice.
Try to give him your full attention, without interruptions. Don’t feel you have to diagnose problems, offer solutions or give advice. Just let him know you’re all ears, judgement-free. Follow-up questions are good too. They’ll help let him know you’re listening.
Help him focus on simple things that might improve his wellbeing: Is he getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and eating properly? Maybe there’s something that’s helped before? Suggest he tells other people he trusts how he’s feeling. This will make things easier – for both of you. And if he’s felt low for more than two weeks, suggest he sees his doctor.
Suggest you catch up soon in person if you can. If you can’t manage a meet-up, make time for a call, or drop him a message. This will show you care. Plus, you’ll get a feel for whether he’s feeling any better. If you’re worried that somebody’s life is in immediate danger, go directly to emergency services.
If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicidal ideation, please pick up the phone and speak to one of the agencies mentioned above.