Don't 'Man up'... 'Mo up' this November!

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Scott Mo Smith

Hey Guys, I'm Scott William Smith and fast approaching is the annual Movember movement across the world, the campaign is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness and tackle the issues of men’s health.

In recent years, this movement has grown from the opportunity to avoid shaving for 30 days (that was always my excuse), into something that is actually addressing many health topics including suicide prevention among men. Studying Computer Science at Staffordshire University has literally changed my life, and during the difficult times, they were miles away from the exciting university experience I was seeking. The most difficult thing is as a sufferer, I never knew I needed help and this would be due to the outdated stereotypes in society.

 

Strength, dominating positions of power, the hunter-gatherer, the idea that strong and silent is attractive, the “show no weakness” bravado of heroes in our media.

In many of these macho images, there is very little room for showing poor mental health. The men who are most revered in society (famous, wealthy, successful, powerful) are not always ready to admit their struggles in public and that can leave the “average bloke” feeling uncertain about speaking out.
 
It is great that the tide is turning for men. When Prince William and Prince Harry began talking openly about their own mental health challenges, it gave the country an incredible lift. One by one, more of these revered men are coming forward and openly addressing mental health; footballers, politicians, actors, anyone can talk about it. I do not consider that these men are weak or failing by speaking out, in fact, they are the ones that are ‘manning up’.
 

How is the union getting involved with Movember?

Keep updated by following our social media!
Facebook: facebook.com/staffsunion
Twitter/Instagram/Snapchat: @staffsunion
 
Members of staff at the University and the Union are going to be mo-ving for movember to raise money for the charity. To find out more and donate please clickety click this link.

 

So, what can you do about it?

There has never been a better time to seek help in regards to wellbeing. I recently reminded someone that while you can get better, the first step has to be yours. If you are suffering from poor mental health, it might feel like the hardest step to take but it can lead to easier and better steps too.
 
Some of the ways I found to tackle this challenge include:
  • Talking to someone you trust, a close friend or family member, maybe even your doctor;
  • Considering why you find it uncomfortable asking for help and whether those reasons are actually stopping you from getting the support you need;
  • Reading more about mental health and the varied guidance and advice that is easily accessible;
  • Finding a support group, there are many around the country that are free and open to anyone (Such as Hanley Community Fire station & Changes Health & Wellbeing Centre);
  • Consider what are your weapons in this fight (i.e. the ways you combat poor mental health) – it could be anything from regular exercise to spending time with friends (for me, Theme Parks and Physical Escapism);
  • Finding stories and case studies that will help you understand what other men have been through;
  • Getting involved in the great campaigns and activities that raise awareness of mental health.

The next time somebody tells you to “man up”, remember mental health affects us all regardless of gender so do not feel like being a man (or the perception of what it means to be a “man”) is a barrier to finding the path to a healthier, happier you.

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