Posted on Wed 17 Jun 2015 at 18:03 by Sam Spencer
HALLELUJAH! IT'S RAINING MEN, AMEN! Sorry I had to...
Ahem... In case you didn’t realise, I am a man. The first male sabb in about 3 years and the only male on the team for this year and next. As it’s #MensHealthWeek I thought I’d write this blog based on a few facts I’ve found, my own experience and building on my Mental health awareness campaign.
This years campaign focuses on trying to get you to:
Look after their relationships and wellbeing
Watch their weight
Turn up to their NHS Health Check
This infographic shows the statistics on mens health, with some quite worrying results. A life expectancy of 4.4 years less than Women, being at significantly more risk of heart disease, cancer and liver disease. As well as the most worrying statistic for me personally in that males aged under 25 are more at risk of commiting suicide, six times as likely, some of which comes down to the whole society model of ‘being a man’.
One of the worst parts about mens health is the whole image of being a man, typical lingo of ‘manning up’ and how ‘boys don’t cry’, the thought that every boy/man must enjoy conventionally male based things (Sports, cars, beer etc) a lot of this pressure builds up into men feeling they can’t share how they really feel in fear of being seen as less manly, common phrases being ‘Don’t be such a pussy’, ‘Man up’ and being referred to as a girl. You can see great examples of this on Time to Change’s blog about men and mental health.
This is highly detrimental to a mans health overall as the fears and emotions build up into something unmanageable, it’s like constantly blowing up a balloon eventually making it pop. That pop can be related to someone coming out with all their emotions, or worse happening.
I’ve been through this pop before, and it’s the worst thing to be going through believe me. We need to work together to alleviate the stigma around mens mental health and open up the conversation around mental health, something that is prominent throughout my whole Mental Health Awareness campaign. Just talk to someone! Anyone! Friends, family, lecturers, students’ first, me… All offer a welcoming ear and a comforting environment, or you could even just write it in an anonymous blog, just something to get the feelings out there. A good tip that’s carried with me throughout my life is something one of my old college lecturers taught me, they had a revision tip called ‘Learn and Burn’, you write something to revise on a piece of paper and then chuck it in a bonfire (Obviously take care with doing this, burns aren’t fun).
This technique works excellently for all manner of things, including emotional things. There are other (safer) ways of doing this too! The classic one is Worry dolls, little dolls that you assign worries to and carry with you, kind of visualises the problem and makes them appear tiny!
The thing we still have to work on as a society is that gender roles should not dictate a persons life, being a ‘boy’ does not mean you can’t cry or become an emotionless robot. Similarly being a girl doesn’t mean you have to enjoy the colour pink and love Barbie (But I mean, who DOESN’T love Pink?!). Of course you may not associate with either gender role, which is why gender fluidity needs to be more commonly known about. Every person is equal to each other and this whole nonsense about manning up needs to stop, sooner rather than later too!
Whilst looking at facts for this article I found loads of interesting sites, just by searching for ‘Men’s health stats’, if you have a spare 5 minutes just look up some of the facts and figures and you’ll be amazed! Now I’m going to leave you with an interesting video, that’s only half relevant to this blog about Gendered Marketing, now use #MensHealthWeek to tweet your experiences, or tweet us @SolentSU!