As a blogger on men’s mental health, I’m often struck by the difficulty some men find admitting they have a problem they can’t resolve themselves. I think some of this is cultural. As a society we don’t treat mental health as seriously as we should. The NHS services for mental health are often seen as the Cinderella services, receiving the least funding and overwhelming demand. I think it’s also something about men. Our instinct when faced with an emotional crisis is to retire to the ‘garden shed’ and try and work it out for ourselves. But we can’t always do it on our own.
Mental health problems affect the majority of us at some point in our lives. A recent survey by the mental health charity Together found that 6 out of 10 Britain’s have had a period of their life when they have found it difficult to cope mentally. 70% had suffered from stress, 59% had suffered from anxiety, and 55% from depression.
As a professional I know that it is much easier to treat disorders like stress, anxiety and depression if men present early. All too often men present after years of suffering, which makes treatment longer, more complicated and more expensive.
Men who present early make the quickest recovery. What’s more, the mental health skills they learn mean they are better able to cope with future problems much more effectively. Modern treatments for things like stress, anxiety and depression are not just about helping with the current problem, but teach the skills and knowledge you need to prevent it from happening again. I’m struck by the number of men that say to me ‘why wasn’t I taught this before’, or ‘everybody should know about this’.
My advice if you are finding it difficult to cope right now is get the right advice early. What you learn may mean the next time you go to the garden shed to reflect on a problem, you have the right tools to know what to do with it.
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