• Ian

Men’s Mental Health - Why Are So Many Men Suffering?

Over the past few weeks I have spent a lot of time talking to and working with many sad and anguished blokes, both professionally as a Clinical Hypnotherapist with Hypno4 and in my private life. Men’s mental health seems to be becoming my specialism with regards to therapy.

I personally believe that in 2019 many of us feel quite confused. Are we supposed to be the strong hunter gatherer? Are we allowed to be macho anymore? Should we be fearless? Or are we supposed to be more enlightened in these times of equality? We have oft used, and oppressive phrases ingrained in our culture: - “Man up!” - (err… So, is gender somehow an indication of strength & courage?) - “Crying like a girl” - (… as above) - “Don’t be so gay!” - (… I won’t even comment on this one.) There are so many more. Essentially boys are indoctrinated from an early age to hide their vulnerability and emotions. Is it any wonder that we struggle as adults?

We all know that men are less likely to ask for or seek help than women but why is that? Following International Men’s Day in 2015, the Priory surveyed 1,000 men regarding how they feel and thoughts about their own mental health. The results were shocking, though not exactly unpredictable:

“40% of men will not talk to anyone about their mental health”. I doubt that figure has changed to any degree since then. So what reasons did men give for not talking?

· ‘I’ve learnt to deal with it’ (40%)

· ‘I don’t wish to be a burden to anyone’ (36%)

· ‘I’m too embarrassed’ (29%)

· ‘There’s negative stigma around this type of thing’ (20%)

· ‘I don’t want to admit I need support’ (17%)

· ‘I don’t want to appear weak’ (16%) · ‘I have no one to talk to’ (14%)

Almost a quarter of those surveyed said they would be uncomfortable speaking to a GP or other professional, with many worried about wasting someone’s time. Attitudes need to change - depression and anxiety are perfectly legitimate reasons to seek assistance. We should see vulnerability as a sign of strength not of weakness.

The guys that I have worked with lately have shown immense courage in simply making that first contact, picking up the phone or sending me a message; all credit to them. Many have been unable to put their finger on exactly what is wrong or how they can be helped - often it’s just a feeling that something is out of kilter; nerves, anxiety, apathy etc. Men frequently define strength in physical terms, but bench pressing 250lbs is not going to help you fix a relationship or be more confident. Asking for help when you cannot handle something on our own, may well be the strongest thing you can do.

Did you know that suicide is still the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45? There is a huge gender split. In the UK the rate of suicide in women is less than a third of that for men. It is comparable to other countries. Why is this? Women have far higher rates of depression diagnosis. Statistically they are much more likely to attempt suicide, but Males still top the list. Is that because men are likely to just do it without seeking any help or intervention? It’s near impossible to know as it’s a complex issue and the nature of it doesn’t lend itself to understanding all the reasons.

Hypnosis is not mind control, on the contrary, a hypnotized person enters a highly alert state where focus and concentration is heightened. People do not fall asleep or lose consciousness, that is just a media promoted misconception. Modern Clinical Hypnotherapy should not be confused with “stage hypnotism” which is just entertainment and certainly not health care! Clinical hypnosis takes training and experience, it needs to be used by those aware of the appropriate uses. Hypnosis should be viewed as part of an ongoing therapeutic plan, benefits can be seen from an initial session but are often reinforced and more effective following further treatment. All that is required is the client’s willingness and the therapist’s skill in guiding them to their true potential and positive mindset change.

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Ian 07999 694425

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