I thought that I’d concentrate on men’s’ mental health this week, mainly because it still seems to be a difficult subject for men to talk about, despite all the recent increased awareness of what has previously been a taboo subject.
If the man or men (thinking not just partners but brothers, fathers and friends here) have recently had a change in their lives, this can lead to mental health problems. I’m thinking a relationship breakdown, retirement or job loss…
Some men complain of physical symptoms like headaches, tiredness, nausea or pain in their joints as well as being unable to sleep or losing their appetite. Channeling their pain through more aggressive behaviour is common too, as is drinking or smoking more and taking over the counter painkillers.
So whatever your relationship with them, try to find a way of helping them relax by going for a walk or something similar so that you can talk at the same time. Avoid asking how they feel as a lot of men shy away from that question. Instead, ask what a particular change means to them. When they hopefully starts talking, it’s natural to immediately say things like “oh, you’ll soon find another job”, but that stops the conversation and may not actually be true either. Instead, let them talk – and talk, and talk.
Don’t accept a brush-off like “There’s nothing wrong – I’m absolutely fine”. Trust your own feelings and ask again. If they’re struggling with really dark thoughts, suggest them seeing their GP, visiting the website CALM (thecalmzone.net) or calling the Samaritans which is a 24 hour seven day a week service. Their number is 116 123 or you can visit their website samaritans.org.
Lastly, accept that you won’t have all the answers and that’s alright. As long as they know that you’re there when they need you, you’re doing a grand job. Being there physically or at the end of a phone is one of the most important things we can do for anyone who’s struggling with whatever’s going on in their life right now.
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#anxiety #familyrelationships #stress #self-esteem #workonyourself