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International Men's Day

What barriers do men face when accessing mental health support? Our panel investigates.

This International Mens Day we are looking at barriers men face when accessing mental health support

We are dedicated to making our services as wide reaching and inclusive as possible. We therefore ran a zoom discussion with a group of men from the local community to discuss the stigma around male mental health, and ways in which mental health services can be more welcoming to men.

Take a look at the full zoom discussion we ran here, or the individual questions at the bottom of the page.

The event was chaired by Rob Eamey from Solent Mind and Ian Hurst from We are Hummingbird, and the attendees were:

John Wilderspin - Chair of Board of Trustee’s for Solent Mind

I’m John, I chair the Board of Trustees for Solent Mind and I’m also a Trustee on the Board of national Mind. I know from personal experience and also from working with Mind that men find it really difficult to talk about their mental health, and even harder to reach out for help. I really hope that by listening to this discussion men will feel more confident about doing that.

Duke Harrison-Hunter - Equality Diversity and Inclusion officer for Pompey in the Community

I’m Duke, 57 years old originally from south London. Im currently The Equality Diversity and Inclusion officer for Pompey in the Community affiliated to Portsmouth Football Club. My interest in mental health stems from my own experiences from abandonment- addiction and suicide ideations.

Niall Ahearne- Senior Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner

My name is Niall, I have worked at Talking Change in the Step 2 Low Intensity Intervention Team for the last 2 years. My role is in completing the initial assessments for the service and I am also involved in Low Intensity CBT based support for Depression and Anxiety disorders in group and 1:1 sessions. Working in mental health has really shown me how little myself and my male friends talk about mental health, and the fact that mental health is such a female dominated workforce is something which fascinates me as it is something which touches us all in one way or another.

Loyson O'Reilly- Peer support project worker, Solent Mind

I am originally from Zimbabwe, I moved to the UK in 1998 to go to university. I got bored and decided it was not for me, so I left after two years to Join the British Army. I served for ten years first as an infantry soldier and later as a combat medic.

I left the army in 2010, struggled with adapting to becoming a civilian and after a few years managed to settle down with a new job, new friends etc. In 2017 I was a victim of a violent assault and was stabbed in the back three times by a stranger. This left me partially disabled and I had to learn how to walk again.

I have been working at Solent Mind for coming two months.My interest in men's mental health started in my last few years in the army after observing the changes in myself and my colleagues and friends. It grew more from my own experiences with ptsd and life experiences.

Chris Reeves- Royal Navy and founded of Win the Morning, Win the Day

I am a personal trainer in the Royal Navy. In the past, I have done things I am not proud of. I have really struggled with my mental health. I now know my triggers and try to look after myself the best I can so I can stay on top form.

Hearing the quote ‘Win the day, Win the Morning’ inspired me to do something to set my day upright. I set up a group, named after the quote, with the idea that we would meet up early in the morning, walk for a couple of miles and finish with a dip in the sea. I know that doing exercise is great for our mental well-being and in my mind, if you start your day right you are setting yourself up to succeed. The way I see it, you can’t help everyone but it’s the little things that make a difference and I can help as many people as possible.

Dan Winter Bates- Solent NHS, Freedom To Speak Up Guardian

I have been working in the NHS for 13/14 years across community, acute, physical and mental health. Alongside a fairly extensive career I have been proactive in trying to reduce the stigma around mental health not only within trusts but out in the community. I am lucky enough to have a duel career, as I am also in a professional band…I had the opportunity on the last tour to run safe spaces for music fans, in a hope to create open, honest communities that look at vulnerability as strength not weakness. I have lived experience from a few mental health diagnoses but have started seeing them as my super power, rather than a hindrance.

Dan Angus - Head of Social Enterprise at Mayfield Nurseries

My current role in Solent Mind is Head of Social Enterprise, so I’m fortunate to be in charge of Mayfield Nurseries and Wellbeing Centre in Southampton. I’ve spent much of my career in the charity sector but have also worked in corporate environments and even for a time in the motor trade. Throughout, I have lived with bi-polar disorder, panic and anxiety disorders and chronic fatigue. I’ve found attitudes to men’s mental health have slowly changed over the course of the last 25 years or so but there is still much to do. Many people I meet still have a ‘boys don’t cry’ attitude, but many have no understanding of mental health but want to be supportive – they just don’t know how. There are also an unacceptable number of men who are suffering mental distress and not feeling that they can ask for help or be open about how they are feeling. The more men can role model openness and good mental wellbeing practices, the more men will feel they can ask for help.

Short Question Videos

If someone admits the they are struggling with their mental health, would it make others think differently of them?

Is the stigma of mental health worse for men than women?

What are the pressures around male body image?

Do you think adimiting you are struggling with your mental health can damage your career?

What advice would you give to businesses to build advocacy around mental health?

How do you think mental health services could be more welcoming to men?

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