At a debate this week in Westminster Hall for International Men’s Day, local MP Jo Swinson spoke out on the issue of men’s mental health, praising the work of local mental health group Brothers in Arms.
The Brothers in Arms project supports men who are struggling with mental health to reach out. They use men’s peers, their voices and their interests to reach them, and work to raise awareness of the issues that men face; that many men feel unable to talk, or to admit when they have a problem.
Commenting, Jo said:
“Mental health for men and boys is a huge issue. Men are three times more likely than women to commit suicide, and it is the biggest cause of death for men under the age of 45.
“Not enough specialist services cater specifically for men, and so may fail to recognise some of the difficulties that men might have in coming forward.
“Brothers in Arms does excellent work in supporting men coming forward to seek help. They recognise the cultural barriers that often make men feel reluctant to reach out.
“We need to work together to create a culture where men feel comfortable in reaching out for help when they need it, and projects such as Brothers in Arms are leading the way.”
The founder of Brothers in Arms, Dan Proverbs, said:
“We work with men so that they can feel respected. There is a barrier preventing men from seeking help because they are always expected to be in control, and failure to be so feels like a weakness and a loss of masculinity.
“We want men to believe that they can ask for and find help when they need it, so that male suicide can be prevented.
“I have been there myself. At the age of 40, I contemplated taking my own life. It took ten years of going on a journey and learning to talk to other people to become at peace with myself.
“Some men don’t have ten years to find that. We need to try and get to a point where men can learn to deal with it as soon as they start getting those feelings that lead them down a path where they could take their own lives.
“Brothers in Arms is always there for them.”
You can visit Brothers in Arms at: http://www.brothersinarmsscotland.co.uk/.
You can also call:
- The Calm helpline on 0800 58 58 58, 5pm-midnight, 365 days a year. Calls are free, anonymous and confidential and won’t show up on your phone bill.
- Breathing Space helpline on 0800 83 85 87. Monday – Thursday 6pm-2am, Friday – Monday 6pm-6am. Calls are free.