Not enough men in here?
Something we should be asking of every counselling and mental health support service.
We know that men access support on far fewer occasions than women and we really need to address why this is happening and how we can change it.
Last Saturday was International Men’s Day where we aim to raise awareness of issues faced by men and I recognise the absolute need when it comes to Men’s Mental Health.
As this week’s about Men’s Mental Health you probably don’t want to hear it from me. So here’s something from …
Liam Morris, KeeleSU Bar Staff and a member of the #TimeToTalk Campaign Team.
Talking about Mental Health is important. I’m not saying it’s the first thing you want to hear in the morning on a Monday, I’m not saying it’s gonna win you friends at the bar or in the club. But it’s important. For the people who suffer with a Mental Illness, sometimes talking is all they want to do, but feel like they can’t. It’s almost like a zip that gets pulled across your mouth whenever you want to speak up or speak out. The zip being all the fears that you hold inside about coming out with these things called emotions. Because men don’t feel emotions. Men are tough and strong, the heroes from all the stories don’t cry. But they do; Achilles cries in the Iliad, Zeus cries when he learns his son has been taken from him, countless men cried in war, young and old. Many more cry every day. But we’re shunned away, told to “Man up” to “Stop being a girl”, but that doesn’t solve anything. So how do we fix it? We tell men it’s okay to be emotional. I will stand up in a crowded movie theatre and ball my eyes out to Big Hero Six, I will stand with the tears on my cheeks because I know it’s okay to cry. And it is! Sadness should be no less important to display in a man than anger or aggression should be. All these manly feelings, they’re bullshit. There is no such thing as a “Manly” feeling. They should be shared and accepted. Because only then are things gonna get better for those too scared to speak up and speak out.
Nathan Slater, Deputy President of the Athletic Union & Part Time Officer of the Students' Union.
Mental health is one of those things that just isn't spoken about. Especially between a group of lads. Even more so when you're in a sports team We, (sports people) tell ourselves and everyone around us that sports are amazing, come join a club, our club is the best, you'd fit in perfectly, everyone has a great time. But does everyone really have a great time? Do we really know who's having fun or who's just having to crack on when actually you're having a terrible day and really suffering but you're too afraid to "bite or nibble" at someone making fun of you on that day because we all know that never helps. That would have usually been a bit of friendly banter and you'd of taken it on the chin and given some out yourself because that’s what you do when you're in a men's sports club. But not today and it's not every day. We parade around campus in our new stash pretending to be a team but are we really a team when it comes to tackling real issues like mental health? Do we really look at our team member and know what's happening to them? We've all got our own burdens but this is something we can work on together as a team and as a collective, say no to men suffering in silence because that's what we've been taught to do. Men's mental health needs to be taken more seriously and now more than ever. And not seen as an another weapon in the arsenal of giving out a bit of banter. Although, it's not all doom and gloom, being part of a sports team is the most incredible thing to be a part of and I wouldn't be in my role if I didn't think that was the case. I've seen it bring out the absolute best in people, people that you'd never expect to perform some incredible acts of kindness towards each other surrounding men's mental health and when it comes down to it, I wouldn't be anywhere near where I am with my life without my sport's team. We are great. But we can be at our absolute best when we take mental health seriously in our sport community.
The #TimeToTalk Campaign was launched on World Mental Health day where we spent the day talking (not surprisingly) to students and staff from across the university. It was so refreshing to see so many people openly discuss mental health and talk about what we can be doing to make our services better at Keele. We’ve taken a lot of feedback from this event and will use it to inform that work that I do with the University around their provision for Mental Health. So watch this space, or rather the university webpages, to see the positive changes we can make when students speak up about what they want to see.
This campaign is truly grassroots and student led. I’m blessed as your Welfare & Internationalisation Officer to be surrounded by wonderful students. Students who share my passion for activism and that I am lucky to call my friends. So just as you don’t want me telling you about Men’s Mental Health, here’s a little message from Hollie to tell you why this campaign means so much to her.
“The reason I’m so passionate about this cause is because why should we let a father, grandfather, brother, partner, cousin, friend or you name it suffer in silence. Men feel like they can’t talk about it and bottle it up, we want to raise awareness to show that they don’t have to ‘man up’ to show emotion and can talk. It’s ok to talk, it’s ok to cry and it’s ok to hurt. Please don’t suffer in silence, it’s #TimeToTalk about it.
A message from Hollie Beavan, #TimeToTalk Campaign Founder.