Sarah is 16 years old and is studying at St Alban’s RC high school. She decided to get involved with Student Life because she wanted to write about and photograph things that interest her and others
Did you know that men account for the highest rate of suicides in the UK? In 2017 three quarters of suicides registered were men, many of which could have been prevented if individuals were able to discuss their mental health more openly.
Men’s mental health has become a topic many people find difficult to talk about and I believe has only recently been brought to the attention of the general public. This is because, typically in our society, men are seen to be ‘tough’ and have to hide their emotions from their families and friends. However, more individuals are beginning to speak up about their mental health struggles which, I believe is the best way to move forward from this idea and to prevent them from being unseen.
Personally, when considering men’s mental health, the first person I would look to is my father. Who, despite being a former Royal Marine Commando and serving during the Falklands’ war, has never shown any weakness regarding his own mental health and wellbeing.
Recently when talking to him, he suggested that men prefer not to talk about their own mental health because ‘they are stereotypically seen as being the ‘alpha’’ and do not like expressing their own ‘personal problems and opening up to others’ as they feel that they may be seen as weak. When considering his personal experience with mental health, he expressed that sometimes he has found himself ‘becoming sad or angry’ which causes him to become very anxious. He also said that shortly after serving in the Falklands’ war in 1982, ‘due to extreme feelings of fear and mixed emotions which occurred daily’ he was often affected by stress, this led him to feel trapped as he was unable to change things which were out of his control.
His advice to other men struggling with mental health problems would be to ‘discuss your feelings with someone you are comfortable to talk to’ and to be open about your struggles as it is the best way to lift the weight off your shoulders.
I would agree with this advice as there are a growing number of people and places, individuals can to go to for help. I would also tell people to remember that even the strongest of men may be struggling with their mental health and that it is okay to tell someone about it.