mhw_2018logo.pngMen’s Health Week starts today (14 June – 21 June). Did you know one man in five dies before the age of 65?

This is why we are supporting this week organised by the Men’s Health Forum encouraging men to talk about how they feel and better mental health in a Covid-19 world.

This year’s campaign is focused on the #CANDO challenge and five days of the week and five ways to wellbeing. Read more about the challenge.

We asked a variety of men working in the NHS and in health and social care on why they believe it is so important to have open conversations around health.

Take a read of their stories:

“I am fortunate to have a good group of friends and colleagues to talk to and support each other. I would encourage everyone including men to talk to their friends and family and to listen and offer to listen to them also. It may feel difficult for some men to do this but if they can open up it is really helpful even just to offload and it does not always mean a problem has to be solved but just helpful to let it out. By listening to your friends or family it is reciprocal and can feel less like you are a burden to others.

During the pandemic, for the most part it has been fine really. Being so busy with work has been a good distraction overall and kept me up to date with important announcements which meant I did not have to watch the news on TV and become anxious about what was happening by overthinking. I have managed my wellbeing by doing some DIY and using the gyms when they were open. I definitely struggled when the gyms were closed especially in the winter months as I was not very good at exercising at home."

Anthony Newton.jpg“A big thing for me is to keep active. I love running, walking, being outdoors  when I can. I try and eat as well as possible but I’m addicted to sugar and  snacks. It's all about the balance of course. During the lockdown, I dusted off my keyboard and took up learning to play from grade 1. I saw improvements but I’m sure I drove my neighbours mad but they were too polite to say anything Staying connected to people is important to me and having a drink and chat is always “therapeutic”.

During Covid-19 and the lockdown restrictions I was distracted with academic work and home renovations that took months so I was completely preoccupied. Being locked down had benefits for me in that it allowed me to slow down, rest a bit and focus on priorities in life such as keeping healthy, staying connected and doing things that bring me joy. On the other hand, once all the distractions had disappeared and It was winter, it was tough, everything started to feel the same and blur into one and things felt tenser. It became even more important to keep active and have supportive routines.

I would say that it is important to feel safe enough to open up. If you don’t feel safe, then revaluate the people, things and support you have around you. It's ok to ask for help. Start by talking to a professional or a close friend/family member then find your tribe of like-minded men/people on a similar journey from there.

Society has made it hard for men to talk about feelings, especially publicly but lastly only we can take responsibility for how we think and feel in the end. The new brave is vulnerability and honesty.”

Whatsapp recording

“During the Covid-19 pandemic, I was lucky in a way to be a keyworker and able to go to work on a regular basis which kept my mind focused on helping others on the unit. Normally outside work, I am an enthusiastic gym goer and would go around 4 times a week which helps me with managing my mental health.

However, as these were closed, it was a hard struggle to find the motivation to do it at home but I did do some exercise. I was able to meet with my personal trainer outside in the park. I enjoyed watching new series and films on Netflix and going back through my childhood Disney films”

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