Thankfully, we’re hearing more and more about mental health in our day to day lives. Whether that’s celebrities speaking up about their experiences or friends sharing their battles, charities fighting for funding or campaigns raising awareness, mental health is finally starting to get the airtime it deserves.
And we’re proud to be champions of mental health awareness and wellbeing – head to our Blog for content from mindfulness to social media detox to cyberbullying to the benefits of exercise.
But we know the world’s not perfect yet. Far from it. There are still lots of us who don’t feel able to speak up and get help when we’re struggling. And though statistically more women suffer with mental health problems than men, men are far less likely to seek out help until they reach crisis point.
The charity Movember states that, globally, a man dies by suicide every minute. In the UK, 75% of all suicides are committed by men.
It’s a complex issue, with an inability to open up caused or made worse by a society that tells men that they shouldn’t show emotion, that they should “man up”, that they should be uncomfortable asking friends and family for help.
PhD candidate Jo-Anne Tait from Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon University is looking into the mental health of STEM students, particularly in engineering, who she found to rarely seek mental health advice despite the high risk of being predominantly male, students and undertaking high pressure courses.
The study aims to better inform universities in ‘supporting mental wellbeing of engineering students’ as they progress through their studies, and Jo-Anne’s still looking for participants to take part in her anonymous questionnaire if you’re an engineering student who could offer some insight.
But it’s not just male engineers who could be suffering. If you think you or someone you know might be struggling with their mental health, don’t stay silent.
The internet has a wealth of resources to help you speak out or lend a hand to friends and family – have a look at mind.org.uk, the NHS website, Samaritans, sane.org.uk and loads more for impartial advice.
Movember has some great downloadable resources, including a PDF guide on ‘How to Move Beyond Feeling Rubbish’, containing ‘simple tips on how to talk and take action, as well as articles telling the stories of mental health sufferers and survivors.
There’s also brilliant advice on how to reach out to a friend you feel might be struggling. They advise you take four steps:
Need some more advice? Have a look at our content on wellbeing and how to look after yourself and others.
LUCY HARDING is an English Literature grad and an MA Publishing student at UCL. She is passionate about international relations and cultural diversity, having worked closely with her university’s Erasmus society to support European students. She also spent a year abroad studying at California State University: Long Beach
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