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Men don’t know when they have a mental health problem

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MOST men in Warrington would not know if they had mental health problems – and would not seek professional help.
They would prefer to talk to a friend who had experienced similar problems.
These are the conclusion of a survey of 586 men in the borough carried out by public health chiefs earlier this year.
More than 60 per cent of those who responded felt that men they know are not likely to recognise symptoms of mental health problems in themselves and 75 thought thought it unlikely that men they know would go to see their GP if they were feeling down.
They were also asked where they would like to receive advice, information and support in relation to mental health, with 82 per cent saying they would prefer to talk to men who had experienced similar problems.
Now the borough council and partner organisations are urging men to recognise the importance of their own mental health, how their attitudes and behaviours can influence other people’s experiences of mental health and that being in a friend’s corner can make all the difference.
Time to Change, the mental health campaign run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, carried out research which showed men are less
knowledgeable about mental health and far less likely to report their own experiences of mental health problems.
They are also less likely to discuss mental health problems with a professional and three times more likely to take their own lives than women – with suicide being the leading cause of death in men under 45.
Men are encouraged to step in, if a mate is acting differently and reach out to him, listen without judging and be themselves and do everyday things.
Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, the council’s lead member for public health and wellbeing, said: “The stress and strain of daily life can affect anyone, at any time. For some it can lead to serious mental health problems, or to people feeling overwhelmed and suicidal. It’s vital that we make
sure men know how and where to get help if they feel unable to cope.
“In Warrington, we want to make sure that men get the information, advice and support they need, either to maintain their mental wellbeing, or to recover, if they are experiencing mental health problems or know someone else who needs support.”
Throughout November and December, LiveWire libraries across the borough are taking part in the “In Your Corner” initiative with displays and information.
It will be at Birchwood on November 21, Woolston on November 24,  Culcheth on November 28, Lymm on December 1, Burtonwood on December 5, Stockton Heath on December 7, Westbrook on December 12, Warrington on December on 15 and Penketh on December 19.
Strategic library manager Wendy Molyneux said: “With one in four of us fighting a mental health problem in any given year, initiatives like ‘In Your Corner’ help raise understanding about mental health issues and are a positive step in changing attitudes and behaviours.”
Details of helplines, online support and other services which have been designed especially for men are at www.happyoksad.org.uk.

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