On November 19th the International Men’s Day is celebrated worldwide. Focus is the positive value men bring to the world, their families and communities. The day highlights positive role models and crucially raises awareness of men’s well-being.
I think recently there has been a positive change towards raising awareness of men’s health and specifically towards their mental health. Historically many has struggled to talk about their mental health issues, concerns, stresses and anxiety. It’s a shame as a problem shared is often a problem halved. Positively and in my personal view I feel that there is an improvement going on and I have had more conversations with fellow men on this topic, especially during and after the lock-down periods which affected us all. Just recently a male friend of mine asked for help via social media and through my network we were able to advise on suitable charities to contact. I’m listing them here should someone else be in need:
Andy’s Man Club - run talking groups for men who have either been through a storm, are currently going through a storm or have a storm brewing in life.
The Calm Zone - was originally set up to help men but now open to all. the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) and we’re taking a stand against suicide.
Many more exist online so please comment below and we will add them in.
I would also highly recommend Win the Morning Win the Day as set up by Chris Reeves. In the summer of 2020 founder Chris Reeves set it up after listening to a podcast about getting out of your comfort zone to help deal with the stress and mental health decline amidst COVID19. He hence posted a video about going for a walk and a swim in the Solent on social media and was surprised by the horde of people showing up for this initial meet up. WTMWTD has now reached all across the UK and various parts of the world.
I myself belong to WTMWTD and it has become a huge part of my own well-being and routine. I did join the group initially as I was attracted by the open water swimming but I have since learned the multiple benefits in the support we each gain from the group and give to each other in times of need. The different groups meet early mornings around 6am. Go for a walk, have a minute's silence to reflect and to think of those no longer among us. This is followed by a voluntary swim or dip - year round of course. I love it and it certainly takes me out of my comfort zone. Entering cold water requires control over your mind, which most likely is telling you to get the hell out and back to warmth. It leaves me so proud when I have started the day with this achievement. I conquered the challenge. The support is incredible and we encourage and support each other.
Today I needed some extra encouragement as frankly the coldness sent me into a mild flee mode. However I was lucky to have the “Danger Twin” (nickname among friends) with me and I had a longer swim than I would have otherwise have had. I felt so good about it. The meetings are euphoric and full of laughter hence, I hope you will be encouraged to join a group one day. It’s a warm and welcoming bunch of people and if you ever feel alone, anxious, upset or something else there will be someone there to listen.
Happy Friday and Happy International Men’s Day to you all.