It’s Men’s Health Week, a reminder that the health problems faced by men are not just physical, but mental too.
It’s widely recognised that men find it especially difficult to discuss their mental health, with many people suffering and going undiagnosed. The good news is that times are changing, both in the workplace and socially.
Our Head of Design, and Leeds United super-fan, Karl Jaques, a stalwart on the football terraces, has personally noticed a recent shift.
“At work, we’re increasingly creating campaigns to help companies to support colleagues with mental health issues in the workplace. It’s interesting that mental health is something that’s now talked about more frequently in my social circle too.
I’m a massive football fan, my mates and I are dedicated to our team and proud not to have missed a game all season. I have a wide network of friends who go to the matches, seeing them and experiencing the camaraderie between us is often as enjoyable, if not more so, than the match itself.”
It’s good to talk
“It’s great to see that a lot has been done in sport recently to alleviate the stigma that goes hand in hand with mental wellbeing. Last season, the charity Mind raised awareness by endorsing the back of Football League shirts up and down the country, and Prince William recently filmed the BBC documentary with Thierry Henry and other footballers about mental health awareness, you can find this on YouTube.
I think it’s not only good to talk, it’s important. It often takes a lot for a man to open up about their mental health, especially amongst other males. Showing ‘weakness’ in a ‘lads’ environment can make you a target of other people’s ‘banter’, but I’ve personally witnessed that this isn’t always the case nowadays.
Instead, I’ve seen a group of men come together and whole-heartedly support one another, so now our friends feel supported enough to openly talk about their personal struggles with mental health. Knowing that it’s OK not to be OK has made a massive difference to them. We now support each other, as much as we support our team, ‘Marching on together’!
If we can address mental health within a ‘lads’ culture, in football, in other social situations, as well as in the workplace, this will hopefully continue to tackle (forgive the pun) these important issues, and normalise these conversations, leading to a more accepting world where everyone can feel more comfortable and supported. Result!”