Men-tal health

If you heard yesterday’s news that suicides in men are at their highest since 2001, you should read my friend Black Dog Runner’s super post on Depression and Masculinity from a while back.

As a woman and happy f-word user, my inherent empathy and compassion for anyone with mental health problems is always slightly tempered with frustration and anger at the way men are so conditioned into entitlement and denial. Men more readily get depressed about work and finances because they’re still more readily expected to be breadwinners and providers. Depressed men can pay for sex and dress it up as virility/fulfilment/self-discovery rather than being too ill to get into or stay in relationships. Poor self-care associated with depression – bad grooming, bad timekeeping, hoarding, not dressing appropriately for the situation or season – is more of a harmless quirk than a worry if you’re clever, middle-class and male. I’ve waited desperately for NHS counselling, and witnessed men who could well afford to jump the queue insist they don’t need it, despite living on American time in squalor. And yet, some of the most empathetic, special, self-aware, intelligent, internally-beautiful people I have ever known have been men with histories of depression. Every man who speaks out about mental health against the thousand-year-old tide of culturally-ingrained twattery and nonsense is a gift to themselves and others. Thank you. You are lovely. Please keep doing what you do.

Edited to add: Mind have produced this excellent video with a group of men discussing mental health and suicide.

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