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Back in September 2016, LADbible launched a campaign to raise awareness of male mental health issues. The ultimate aim was to develop the broadest understanding of mental health and suicide risk in the UK.
Fast forward just over two years and today, on November 19, men are openly supporting other men across social media platforms and talking about mental health.
It's a reassuring thing to see that Twitter, in particular, has been bombarded with messages from guys to guys.
Men there's no need to mask your pain & pretend to be fine when you're not.
It's ok to cry
It's ok to feel lonely
It's ok to be emotional
It's ok to feel scared
It's ok to ask for help
It's ok to be sensitive
It's ok to feel overwhelmed
we're only human #InternationalMensDay pic.twitter.com/4DuqelwxJi
- Dr Amit Patel (@BlindDad_Uk) November 19, 2018
We're talking about it and that's amazing but there's still a long way to go and the statistics speak for themselves.
According to the Samaritans' annual suicide statistics report, there were 5,812 suicides in the UK in 2017 - a staggering 4,382 of those people were men - that is an average of 12 every single day. That stat hasn't changed since the mid-1990s, let that sink in.
There's no doubt that is a frustratingly huge number of people and can often be quite incomprehensible, but it has decreased and Samaritans put it down to the focus on suicide prevention in recent years.
Men who live in the UK:
12 men each day take their own lives;
7/10 murder victims are male;
90% of rough sleepers are men;
95% of the prison population is male;
84% of suicides linked to the recession were men.
We need do to better. This is not OK.#InternationalMensDay
- Mike Blythe (@mike85blythe) November 19, 2018
The Telegraph reported that mental health issues in men also disproportionately affect minorities.
According to the Lambeth Collective's Black Health and Wellbeing Commission, black men are 17 times more likely to be diagnosed with serious mental health issues.
In 2013, the Gay Men's Health Survey found three percent of gay men and five percent of bisexual men attempted suicide that year, compared to 0.4 percent of heterosexual men.
I don't have anything profound to say, no big proclamation
I just hope all my male friends know - that you are deserving of a life full of happiness, contentment, love, meaning, and deep internal peace and soundness
I hope that for myself as well
- Ben O'Reilly (@ForesterBF) November 19, 2018
On #InternationalMensDay I'm rolling with @Alan_Measles future manifesto for men. We have choice about how we behave, we have choice about whether we conform to a toxic masculinity and most powerfully we can choose to be honest with our selves about who we really are. pic.twitter.com/4QY49wbXca
- A d a m C l a r k :bee::green_heart: (@adclarkie) November 19, 2018
A supportive message on Twitter is one thing but men need to overcome their reluctance to talk about problems that are bothering them.
Stephen Buckley, Head of Information at Mind, told LADbible that trying to find that help early is crucial.
"Campaigns like UOKM8? have the potential to help us continue to shift attitudes surrounding mental health," he said.
"More of us than ever are coming forward to seek help for our mental health, thanks in part to things like Time to Change, the anti-stigma movement backed by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.
"But we know that lots of people still find it difficult to open up when they're struggling with their mental health.
"Bottling things up, as lots of us might do, can make things worse, so it's good to speak to someone you trust - such as a friend, partner, co-worker or family member - as early as you can.
"It might be easier to speak to a mate in a familiar setting you feel comfortable with - such as after playing sports or down the pub. Even just acknowledging that you need help with a problem is a good start."
Come on LADs, we've got this.
'U OK M8?' is an initiative from LADbible in partnership with a range of mental health charities which will feature a series of films and stories to raise awareness of mental health.
Samaritans: 116 123.
CALM: Outside London 0808 802 5858, inside London 0800 58 58 58.
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