Calling All Men: Your Mental Health Matters

The Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland is encouraging men to mind their mental health this International Men's Day.

Dr Michael McBride advised anyone experiencing feelings of anxiety or despair to open up about their problems.

One in five people in Northern Ireland will be affected by mental ill-health in their lifetime. The other four people will know a friend, family member or colleague who will.

Locally, males are less likely to access mental health services than woman are, an issue Dr McBride said must be addressed.

"International Men's Day celebrates the positive value men bring to the world, their families and communities," he commented.

"It would be remiss of me not to highlight the fact that not all men feel valuable due to their emotional well-being.

"Our mental health is how we think, feel and act. It controls how we manage day-to-day life and stressful situations."

Dr McBride identified stigma as a main barrier to some men seeking help for mental health problems. This can significantly worsen the situation, defining them as someone with an illness rather than a person with a meaningful voice and contribution to make.
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"Stigma should not be used as an acceptable excuse for not seeking help," he continued. "Stigma is real but it can be overcome if we work together through identification, intervention and referral to targeted support.

"We all need to tackle stigma to create a lasting, positive change in people's attitudes, especially in men, towards mental health and to better inform people on the facts.

"Help break mental health stigma!"

Details of local organisations that provide help and support are available here:

• Lifeline is the Northern Ireland crisis response helpline service for people who are experiencing distress or despair. Lifeline counsellors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to listen and help in confidence. Find out more online or call 0808 808 8000.

• Samaritans provides confidential, emotional support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair. Further information is available online or by free phone on 116 123.

• Click here for details on the mental health organisations in your area.


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