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"Reaching out can be the hard part and then it settles down. Get more used to it"

1. What does mental health mean to you?

Looking after my brain and checking in with how I’m feeling and what I’m thinking.

2. What do you do to look after your mental health?

Exercise, getting fresh air. Taking breaks and holidays. Eating certain foods. Spending time with friends/family. Having a routine. Going to counselling if/when feel the need.

3. Do you/did you ever find it hard to talk about your mental health?

Usually no but can be tricky at the beginning if not used to doing it or at times when feeling down.

4. Do you think there are any barriers to talking about your mental health being male?

It has improved but there can still be messages in society that men are meant to be strong and talking about your feelings could be wrongly seen as a sign of weakness. Also, the figures speak for themselves that far more females than males access counselling.

5. Do you think there are enough mental health campaigns out there that are aimed at men and boys?

Again, it has improved but it looks like there needs to be more done or done differently.

6. What do you think would pique the interest of men and boys when it comes to a campaign about their mental health?

For some – using ideas or terminology that links it to an MOT for a car or a workout programme like the gym. Knowing that footballers etc make use of sports psychologists. Calibrating the language like the cosmetic industry did in getting many guys to use moisturiser and other products.

7. Are there positive role models in the media for men and boys who are experiencing troubles with their mental health?
I Believe so particularly in relation to addictions and alcohol/gambling/substance misuse/abuse. But we could do with more.

8. What tips would you give young men/boys on talking about their mental health?

Getting started/ reaching out can be the hard part and then it settles down. Get more used to it. It can bring a lot of benefits. Start with someone you can really trust. Maybe share a little bit and depending on how the other person responds/reacts can decide if it’s the right person to tell more to/share more with or not. Your example could help/support others.

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