It’s well known that Northern Ireland has the highest rates of mental-ill health in the UK. This means that at any one time here, 1 in 5 people will be experiencing a mental health issue.
As with many mental health statistics, it’s hard to know if the figures really represent what is happening to men's mental health. They can only tell us about mental health problems that have been reported – many cases may go undiagnosed. This may be especially true when it comes to men’s mental health.
There are other signs that might give us a better picture of the state of men’s mental health:
• Men report lower levels of life satisfaction than women according to the Government’s national wellbeing survey.
• Men are less likely to access psychological therapies than women: only 36% of referrals to NHS talking therapies are for men.
• Suicide is the largest cause of death for men under 50.
What does this all mean? Well, men’s mental health is suffering and the lack of engagement with support is clear. If we can reduce stigma and improve our own capacities, personally and as a community, we can work together to break the mould.
Who are these men? They’re husbands, brothers, sons, fathers, colleagues and people we watch our Irish League clubs with every week. The highest number of male deaths by suicide in NI was in the 25 – 29 age group and 30 – 34 age group. Suicide is also touching young people, suicide figures in under 18s in NI are disproportionately higher when compared to the rest of the UK. It’s clear to see nobody is immune to mental ill-health, however, it’s difficult to interpret the trend amongst male suicide in NI as unavoidable – the smallest steps in reducing suicide often make the biggest difference.
This month, Glentoran are encouraging men to look out for each other, raise awareness, and join our #GlensMensMonth.
There are 3 simple steps to take part:
1. Check-in on 3 of your male friends.
2. Join Movember and grow a moustache along with our players, coaches and staff to raise awareness. Patchy, lopsided, itchy or epic – whatever Mo you grow this Movember, your face will raise awareness for men’s mental health
3. Engage and interact to spread the message on social media
Throughout November our DMs on our social media profiles will be open for a chat for anyone who is finding it tough. Mental health matters.