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Top tips for talking to men about their wellbeing
Despite growing awareness, suicide remains the single biggest killer among men under 50 in the UK.
According to mental health charity Ben, men are three times more likely to take their own lives than women.
Figures published by the National Records of Scotland revealed that there were 112 suicides in Lanarkshire last year.
Of these deaths, 79 were among men and 33 were among women, with 50 in South Lanarkshire – down five on 2019 – and 62 in North Lanarkshire – up five on 2019.
To mark Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month in November, leading mindfulness and mental health app Headspace has shared top tips for talking to the men in our life about their wellbeing.
They suggest how to support men and help them to open up and create safe spaces to encourage them to discuss mental health concerns and their own mental wellbeing.
Mindfulness and meditation can also help to create solace and comfort, by being able to step back and acknowledge one’s emotions.
Some ways you can suggest your friends or family members to weave mindful moments into their days and routines include:
– Taking a pause; step away from your current task, stop, pause, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths. Take the time not only to reset and recharge the mind but also to reconnect with yourself.
– Check in with your body; you can use a specific meditation technique called the “body scan”, scanning the body from head to toe to notice how you physically feel.
– Judging less; when you realise you’re getting caught up in overly critical thinking or overwhelming thoughts, catch yourself, note it and let it go.
– Being active; movement can boost our feelings of happiness and wellbeing. This can be as simple as a mindful walk around the block or being out in nature.
Jolawn Victor from Headspace said: “People in the UK are still not comfortable talking about their mental health.
“Despite the obvious effects of the pandemic on people’s mental health, 54 per cent of people still haven’t talked, and won’t talk, to anyone. Only six per cent of people have reached out to someone for the first time during Covid to talk about their mental health (according to research conducted by Headspace in October 2020).
“For men, the idea of talking about mental health can be even more daunting. Male suicides remains the biggest killer of men under 50 in the UK, and three times as many men die by suicide than women.
“When we feel those energy dips, it’s helpful to get moving and introduce some activity – even if it’s just standing up and stretching a bit or going outside to experience some fresh air.
“If you’ve been moving around a lot already then it might help to sit down and actually let your body rest while you allow your mind to focus on the present.
“The goal is to pay attention to what your body and mind need and create routines that support you in taking a break that is actually restorative.”
If you are worried about suicide, or someone who may be at risk, call the Samaritans on 116123 or Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87.