"Just having someone to listen to you so you can get all your worries out is so powerful and you will feel better."
1. What does mental health mean to you?
At this point in my life mental health means to live a balanced life and deal with any issues that affect me in a negative way as these issues can manifest into a much greater problem. Promoting my mental health is a very important part of my life as my mental health was poor for many years.
As a teenage lad at school mental health was seen as something bad. If you had poor mental health you were seen as an outsider.
2. What do you do to look after your mental health?
Looking after my mental health begins as soon as I wake up in the morning. For me, positive thinking is the key as this helps me to feel good and prepare for the morning ahead. I don’t plan too far ahead in my day as I can feel stress building if I make too many plans. I break my day into sections, and this helps me to manage any stresses. If issues arise that I find myself overthinking, I take time to explore what I am thinking and how best to handle it. Sometimes it is uncomfortable confronting someone and questioning them, but the feeling is far worse if I let my thoughts run without dealing with them.
3. Do you/did you ever find it hard to talk about your mental health?
Talking about my mental health was never an option when I was younger. It was used in conversation such as ‘’am cracking up at him’’ (he’s really made me angry to the point I’m now upset) ‘’he’s doing my nut in’’ (this is really affecting me the way he keeps going on at me). I don’t find it easy to talk about my mental health although, I do find it easier than it was. I know the benefits I get from talking about my mental health and how much of a release I get from it.
4. Do you think there are any barriers to talking about your mental health being male?
Yes. To some of the boys I have worked with there are barriers such as having to be the ‘’tough guy’’ being seen as a ‘’wimp’’, ‘’embarrassed’’, ‘’weak’’ and ‘’different’’ from peers. Some teachers and other staff are also seen as barriers by some young males, and they don’t ask for help.
5. Do you think there are enough mental health campaigns out there that are aimed at men and boys?
The numbers are growing for men on social media but not for young lads.
I think there should be a male and female mental health champion in every year in school that pupils could go to as a point of contact as they don’t always trust the teachers because of the way they have been treated or seen someone else treated.
6. What do you think would pique the interest of men and boys when it comes to a campaign about their mental health?
Having well known male sports persons, famous people from the internet, musicians, gaming programmers etc attend talks in schools. Professors from a variety of subjects that could catch the attention of males from all ages.
7. Are there positive role models in the media for men and boys who are experiencing troubles with their mental health?
Tyson Fury, Conor McGregor, Paddy Pimblet, Justin Bieber, Dwayne Johnston, Prince Harry, George Ezra and Ed Sheeran are a few.
8. What tips would you give young men/boys on talking about their mental health?
If you don’t have anyone in your family or friend circle to talk to, use the internet to find help.
Talk on the phone- the person on the other side will never know who you are.
Talk to the school counsellor. Talk to a teacher you trust or a colleague.
Just having someone to listen to you so you can get all your worries out is so powerful and you will feel better.