4 Men’s Mental Health Issues To Look Out For
Because boys get sad too
At BEAST, we believe there’s little point in looking good if you don’t also feel good. That’s why here on the Journal, we try to cover more than just what serum you should put on your face – though we have also covered that, in case you were interested.
From the benefits of a digital detox to the books that offer some much-needed respite from the real world, men's wellness, in all its forms, continues to be a growing part of what we do. And for good reason. In 2018, the charity Samaritans released data that showed suicide was the number one cause of death in men under 50, and further research in the British Journal of Psychiatry has shown a creeping rise in poor mental health as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Though this once-taboo topic is now a regular talking point in the media, one of the biggest challenges we face is recognising the signs of poor mental health in ourselves and others. With that in mind, we've put together a helpful explainer of four common conditions, with practical advice from personal development coach Chris Dreyfus-Gibson on how to deal with them. Here's to feeling as good as we look.
4 Men’s Mental Health Issues To Look Out For
No matter how much you love your job, chances are you've felt stressed at work at some point for one reason or another. And while stress, in itself, is not a mental health issue, prolonged exposure to stressful situations such as performance targets can lead to physical and mental problems like burnout. Recently recognised by the World Health Organisation as "chronic workplace stress", burnout is a state of exhaustion that leaves us feeling helpless, disillusioned, overwhelmed, emotionally drained. So how exactly can you prevent burnout – short of quitting your job?
BEAST.Recommends: "Make a conscious effort to find separation between the work day and personal time," says Chris. "Perhaps restricting work to one room in the house only to avoid working on the laptop in front of the telly. Or creating a schedule with time allocated to family, hobbies, and relaxation."
As anyone who's ever had a job interview or been a best man at a wedding will tell you, anxious feelings like a racing heart and sweaty palms are a natural reaction to high-pressure situations. However, for men with anxiety conditions, these feelings – along with a wide range other symptoms like anger, muscle aches and alcohol use – can often happen for no reason or continue long after the stressful event has passed. Like depression, anxiety is a serious condition that can go undiagnosed, but with the right help and resources, you don't need to let it control you.
BEAST.Recommends: "Breathing is a great way to pull the body out of the ‘fight or flight’ state. Breathe in through the nose for a count of four, and breathe out through the nose for a count of eight. This has the effect on the body of triggering our 'rest and digest' mechanism."
Have you ever felt like a fraud? Like you've only got to where you are in your personal or professional life by tricking people, and at any moment you're going to be found out? If so, you're not alone. These feelings are known as impostor syndrome and are experienced by around 70% of people at some point in their lives, according to the International Journal of Behavioral Science. The phenomenon was first identified more than 40 years ago but has become more prevalent in recent years with the growth of social media. So what do you do when your world is spinning and it feels like everyone knows you're a big phoney?
BEAST.Recommends: "Begin by writing down any big successes you remember. Then regularly jot down small successes that you achieve during the week. This is a great exercise to round off the week with. As you get used to paying attention and being present, your list will grow and provide you with a source of inspiration."
Everyone feels 'down' occasionally, but if you've been persistently sad or angry, unable to sleep or eat, or you've lost interest in things you used to enjoy, it could be depression. First and foremost: you are not alone. Statistics from Mental Health First Aid show that 13% of men in England are diagnosed with a type of depression (from postnatal to seasonal affective disorder) in their lifetime, while others suggest the undiagnosed figure could be around four times that. It's important to know the signs – not only for you but also for your mates and family – and ask for help because, like a broken bone, it's unlikely to heal on its own.
BEAST.Recommends: "Creating a daily schedule can give you a structure to fall back on without having to think about what to do next. If you are feeling unmotivated, just follow the routine. Getting active can have a positive impact on your mood."
Men's Mental Health Resources
Chris Dreyfus-Gibson is the founder of Zentrify. His first book '4 Things for Life’ is due out in May 2021.Back