Another superb guide from the Men's Health Forum on how to make mental health services work for men.
Two thirds of people in their thirties and forties who live alone are men, and many of them are fathers who will be spending Christmas Day by themselves, writes David Atkinson
Claudia Hammond reports on current issues in mental health, psychology and neuroscience. Claudia asks if the 'one in four' mental health statistic reduces or increases stigma. Martin Seager from the Men's Mental Health Research Team takes the view the statistic that one in four people will experience a mental health problem at some point in their life can increase stigma. Does this suggest that 75% are exempt from mental health problems? No, mental health is for everyone and mental health problems can effect anyone regardless. It's indiscriminate and mental health is for every human being.
Formed in early 2013 by musician and choir leader Dominic Stichbury, Chaps Choir is made up of writers, filmmakers, lawyers, office bods, teachers, doctors, musicians and everyone else in between. Say goodbye to the traditional male voice mould and with it danny boy, green valleys and Abba medleys. The Chaps sing songs from across the world, combining surprising choices with deft arrangements, always with an added chappist twist. Prepare for snowy hunting calls, Manhattanite observations, self-aware pirates and, well, lots of men singing. The choir has rapidly become a place for men to convene in ways that contrast with typical male socialising.
Comedy short written and Produced by Jeremy Swift. Direction by Ed Bazalgette. Starring Jeremy Swift, Roger Sloman, Benjamin Peters, Crispin Letts and Johnny Slap. D.O.P. Malcolm Hadley
Domestic violence is no joke but it seems to be that when the victim is a man it's considered funny and in someway more acceptable. If we ask those male victims of domestic violence if they find it funny I'm sure we would find that they most certainly do not. Mankind - the charity for male victims of domestic violence - have captured this phenomena in a way that is very striking and worrying. Violence is violence!
On 14 January 2008 Jonny Benjamin went to Waterloo Bridge to take his own life. A stranger, 'Mike', stopped him that day and changed his life forever. Six years later this is the documentary about his search to find the man that saved him.
Men have evolved alongside women and make up half of the human population. Humanity is gendered. Yet we still do not really think of men as having “gender issues”. It somehow feels wrong to put it in those terms. As a society, we (both men and women) lack curiosity about what pressures and issues arise from being of the male gender. This may be partly because of a mythical belief that men are somehow doing OK and run the world anyway. Whilst some men are very powerful, however, the vast majority are not and powerful men are doing nothing in policy terms for their “brothers”. There is still very little research into the psychology of being a man or a boy despite the fact that there are obvious gender differences in life expectancy, rates of suicide, addiction, crime, getting assaulted, homelessness and educational performance.
As a psychologist and just as a human being who is trying to understand the human condition, I find this relative blindness to the male gender very striking. What is behind this silence about the gendered emotional worlds of men? Might the cause of the silence also explain the stark gender differences described above?
If we look around us it is not hard to find consistent evidence that there are ancient rules of masculinity that put pressure on men (and from a certain age boys) to think, feel and behave in certain ways. These rules can still be seen in everyday life and in the stories that we tell ourselves in books, films, plays, TV shows and in popular culture. Myself and colleagues have hypothesised what these rules look like and we are beginning to research them to see if they can help to explain for example why men are less likely to seek help and more likely to go through with suicide.
These rules have already been “road tested” on various focus groups and found to have strong face validity. There are only 3 simple rules:
1. A real man is a fighter and a winner
2. A real man is a provider and a protector (of women, children and others)
3. A real man retains mastery and control
If we assume that these deep-seated “hero” rules are always acting upon men then it helps to explain why men can feel such “masculine shame” for example if they lose their job or need help or direction of any kind. These rules also fit with what we know about the evolution of the male as a fighter and hunter. The big question is whether these rules can change in a modern world or to what extent we have to help men find more modern ways of living up to them. For example, men can be given the message that they are taking control by seeking help, not losing control. Whatever else we do, we need to honour the male gender as having its own identity, needs and issues and we need to start designing our society to take account of the specific needs and differences relating to both genders.
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