Navigating conversations about mental health

There’s still a stigma around men’s mental health and it might be daunting to approach someone who seems to be going through a rough patch, even if they’re a friend, partner or family member.

Men are just as likely as anyone to struggle with their mental health but they are less likely to ask for help. This means it’s particularly important to start conversations with them.

Dr Zac Seidler, the Global director of Men’s Health Research at Movember says: “We all have a role to play in preventing suicide and it starts with recognising the signs of poor mental health in those around us. It’s often small changes in behaviour that can signal someone in real distress. Reaching out and checking in can make all the difference, in fact, it might just save their life.”

There is a lot of advice on the Movember website, including the ALEC system to teach you how to talk to someone who’s struggling with their mental health and an interactive tool to help you navigate those difficult conversations.

If, for some reason, you still feel unable to approach the person you’re worried about, it could be helpful to connect with someone they’re close to and tell them about your observations — you don’t have to bear the sole responsibility. Another friend or family member might be more comfortable speaking to them about their mental health. 

But remember, you’re not their doctor or counsellor and you don’t have to have all the answers. Even if you’re unsure what to say, just checking in and asking how they’re doing shows that you care and can go a long way. 

To find which organisations offer support or advice on a range of issues, enter your postcode at for services near you.

If you are worried there is an immediate danger to life, call 999.

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Reporter for the Kingston Courier

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