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Men's Health Week targets mental wellbeing

By Gemma Raw

As we emerge from one of the most challenging periods for society in living memory, the Men's Health Forum has been focusing minds on mental health issues. The COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for everyone. But spare a thought for those with mental health issues, for whom the isolation and insecurities of social restrictions and lockdowns will have been particularly hard to bear.

In England, around one in eight men struggle with their mental health from conditions including depression, anxiety, panic disorder or obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). That's according to official figures, although the Mental Health Foundation believes that many more cases may be going undiagnosed. It's one of the reasons why, for this year's Men's Health Week, the Men's Health Forum has been focusing on mental wellbeing. As the pandemic restrictions are gradually lifted, they've been encouraging men to reach out to friends and family, share their feelings and find ways to move forward.

Five ways to wellbeing

The CAN DO Challenge has encouraged people to use the five days of Men's Health Week to do five things that could help their mental health, from simply going for a walk to learning a new skill. Participants have been sharing their activities via @MensHealthForum, with the most popular on the opening day being to turn off your phone for at least five minutes each day and talk to your partner.

Wider recognition

The issue of men's health is being more widely recognised as a major healthcare challenge, particularly by organisations which represent those working in frontline healthcare roles.

In 2018, the British Psychological Society, which represents psychologists across the UK, officially launched a Male Psychology section. Their 2021 Conference later this year will focus on the health and wellbeing of men and boys in various aspects of their lives. The aim is to raise awareness amongst psychologists and other mental health professionals of important issues which disproportionately affect men and boys, such as suicide, homelessness, addiction, imprisonment and educational underachievement.

In 2017-18, the Queen's Nursing Institute (QNI), which promotes excellence in care provided by nurses and their teams, carried out a year-long programme to support eleven local nurse-led projects aimed at improving the health of men.

Following on from the work of nine of these nursing teams, the QNI published a report highlighting the vital role that community nurses can play in improving men's health. Research shows that men are almost one third less likely than women to see a doctor, and the report offered guidance to those working in community nursing jobs on how they could work more effectively with men.

Men's Mental Health Month

In November this year, the Mental Health Foundation will be running a Men's Mental Health Month, inspired by the popular Movember campaign. There are lots of ways to get involved, from simply messaging a friend or wearing a symbolic green ribbon to hosting a Curry & Chaat. Find out more here.

Find your next mental health nursing job today.