There has been so much amazing discussion and awareness surrounding this week’s World Mental Health Day. The ‘Men’s Mental Health: Challenging the Silent Crisis’ breakfast discussion at [email protected] was a revelatory event, shining a light on men’s mental health — how far we’ve come, how far we have to go, and what we can all do to get there. The event featured discussions from Joshua Dickson and Cornelius O’Shaughnessy.
Dickson is an advocate of positive psychology and practices it at his surf retreats, helping practitioners achieve mental clarity and increased awareness. O’Shaughnessy draws from both Eastern philosophy and Western medication, as well as exploring the meditation practice featured in his own award-winning mind and body retreat, Bodhimaya. Together, they provided a fascinating and inspiring range of perspectives of the current state of men’s mental health and attainable solutions.
“Men’s mental health is a serious topic,” Dickson tells What We Seee. “Many men are lost, have no idea how to find themselves and are resorting to drastic measures such as substance abuse, isolation, and suicide. Even in areas such as self-care, men are lagging behind women, especially in the area of check-ups at the doctor.”
“Man Up” Culture
Despite the increased awareness about mental health issues — and men’s mental health issues in particular — men often still feel a weighty taboo around discussing their emotions.
“The age-old belief that men should just ‘get a grip’ and ‘man up’ still has resonance,” Dickson explains. “Men are taught ‘to do’ from a young age and to express themselves physically (this is often lost in later age and reconnecting to this can be a great benefit through sports, etc). It is changing – men are coming to therapy more and more. However, the statistics show we still have a long way to go.”
Reconnecting With Passions
This week, with World Mental Health Day inspiring so many people to think about what they can do to support mental health, it’s important to remember that we all have a role to play in each other’s journeys. If you worry someone you know is struggling, it’s best to try to offer your time and support, while respecting their autonomy and allowing them to make their own choices.
“Encourage them to reconnect with both their friends and activities they used to love (football, art, music, etc),” he says. “Suggest going to see a professional such as a therapist, GP, or psychologist (loved ones are usually too close to be of any real help), whilst remembering that ‘once is advice, twice is nagging’.”
There is more that all of us can do to help support our own mental health and the well-being of those around us, but discussions like this are a vital step in a crucial cause.