Community Stories: Men and Mental Health

Courageous, enlightening and encouraging sharing from some members of our community on last month's theme.

We set up the Sheffield Flourish website to allow people to share their stories, in whatever way they want to, and anyone can submit a full-length story. But we also want to keep the conversation going in other ways, so each month we’re inviting people to share their experiences through social media, focusing on our monthly themes. June’s theme was ‘Men and mental health’ – a theme linked in with the World Cup, as well as wider conversations. What are these ‘wider conversations’? We’ll share some of the community’s thoughts:

“I’ve bottled up a lot of bad times. Losing my job through being ill was the final straw for me. It was like a switch turning off in my head. I was in hell. Heart racing and feeling really down and not understanding what was going on. Then I started with being scared about my financial situation with being out of work. I spent weeks not leaving the house and just hiding my feelings from my family.
“I got to meet a bloke who suffered with MPD [Multiple Personality Disorder]. We clicked straight away. We started off just walking to places in my zone. Then I plucked up the courage to start a boxercise class at my local church. From then I started to see a slight change in how I felt. I enjoyed fitness. I’ve had depression for over 6 years now and even though I still have bad days I’m able to get to my local gym (DeHood). Fitness and nutrition are my coping methods.” – Chris

“When I lost my mum last year I found it really hard to cry, to get my emotions out. I knew I’d feel better if I could cry, but I just didn’t know how (or I’d be about to cry, and something in me stopped it). I think I’d learnt to keep my emotions in when I was growing up, us lads had to be ‘hard’.” – Joe

“I’ve had depression for some years, and wrote a blog about it” – Dave

“Great that a high-profile footballer has spoken about having depression. And during @ShefFlourish #Men & #MentalHealth month.” – Rob

“#Project84[a project designed to highlight male suicide, as 84 men take their own lives every week] really got to me recently, seeing all those sculptures lined up on that roof, sculptures that represent real men. It’s heart-breaking.” – Amy

“The best way personally I deal with depression is working out and cooking. It keeps me focused. I owe a lot to Manor and Castle Development Trust.” – Christopher

“Had a conversation with a volunteer at work about this – so positive to see more and more about men and mental health in the media, campaigns and conversations. We’d like a future with no gendered language towards mental health that creates barriers (‘stop being a girl’ etc!)” – Robyn

“Wonderful work guys and applause from us up here in Scotland! Perfectly coincides with the launch of our #mandown campaign, the counter term to ‘manning up’ when it comes to talking about mental health.”

“You’re socialised to believe that if you show emotions, you’re weak. But through coming along to the Mankind support group, sharing and opening up, men feel stronger.”

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