It's okay to not be okay
Edward Hounsell, PE and Sports Coaching student
For me personally, as someone who has suffered a lot because of mental health from such a young age, I believe it is so important to raise awareness of male mental health!
A lot of mental health cases I have found are normally triggered from childhood dilemma or incident. For me it was my father dying at such a young age and not really having the support from that and it has a massive domino effect on the rest of your life.
We now live in a day and age where everything that was considered un-natural or not correct in today's society is finally being normalised e.g LGBT, woman's rights etc. However, I found the stigma for/on men has still not changed enough in comparison to the support woman have had (which is brilliant how much they have had).
The idea for men to still be the 'tough man' or to 'man up' has a huge effect on the well-being of many men. The suicide rate in men is drastically higher than woman especially in males 15-40. The support for men needs to be opened up. You can't attack it the same way you would with women, men react so different and for me to release the video about my mental health on Facebook created the biggest knock on effect. I couldn't have imagined receiving so many floods of messages saying 'I never knew you were like that' or 'I am here for you to talk to'. I even had people opening up for the first time to me, some who I barely knew because they didn't know who to turn to because they want to talk to someone who understands their predicament.
Some people with mental health don't want to see a counsellor, because as soon as they see someone they get this impression that there is something wrong with them, that they aren't okay. Not all see it like that but I think the stigma of mental health as a disease or something that makes someone different needs to be thrown aside. This will help those people to see getting help the same way as we see just chatting to someone for a catch up rather than being embarrassed about having to go and chat to someone.
Anyone and everyone should be okay to talk about mental health. We need to get across the idea of your neighbour, team mate, someone on your course, your lecturer or the bloke down at the pub are all just as approachable and qualified to chat to. Mental health in males is normal and we need to not isolate it as something that is wrong.
Speak to someone, the best feeling in the world is getting something off your chest and allowing someone to help you take the mental load, the more people you chat to it about it, the easier it will be. It is okay to not be okay, but it isn't okay to not talk to someone about it. Just take that little step each day and set yourself goals. Get off your phone for 2 hours straight each day. Set yourself a goal to be outside in the fresh air for some time each day. Exercise or join a club, surround yourself with people you like and are supportive in what you are doing.
The support at the University of Chichester is actually under-appreciated. There is a huge amount of support offered. Whether it be by the University in terms of student support offices (e.g student welfare, sexual health, finance advisers, counsellors), or in most societies you will find that they are all very tight knit. For me,the Rugby club is like having another family who just has your full support 24/7. Lecturers for my course have been so helpful and their office doors are always open.
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