“I felt silly talking about it, because men are meant to be tough”
Harry is 19 years old and studied psychology, business studies and Government & politics. Harry decided to get involved with Student Life because of the stigma surrounding men’s mental health.
According to my research, 12.5% of men in the UK suffer from a mental health disorder. 76% of male suicides under the age of 35 are down to mental health disorders. For me this was a shock to find out that such a high percentage of men suffer from a mental health disorder.
The stigma surrounding men’s mental health is that men aren’t meant to open up or talk about their mental health or feelings because we’re built up to be indestructible and macho in today’s society.
I’ve suffered from severe depression and anxiety since I was a young kid. I didn’t know exactly what was happening or how to fix it. At that age I felt trapped and alone with no-one to turn to because of the stigma. I felt silly talking about it, because men are meant to be tough. I felt like I was bothering people and this then caused me to bottle it all up. This then lead me to self-harm and even consider suicide. I’m proud of my journey because it shows myself going from self-harming and being depressed, now to being completely self-harm free and dealing with my mental health. The way in which I dealt with my mental health was to speak to my friends, girlfriend and family, to always keep myself busy and to make sure I’m happy all the time; like doing things I enjoy to take my mind off my thoughts. This is a technique that I still use today.
This for me was crucial to helping myself deal with my mental health. I wish I would’ve had the opportunity, like we have today, to be able to reduce the stigma surrounding men’s mental health, to talk to different organisations that provide the help I need and also to feel as if I could talk about it instead of bottling it up.
Male mental health is getting better with big characters / organisations speaking out, offering support and giving men a platform to speak.
You’re not alone.