Feeling low? Help is at hand

Martin Phillips, Cabinet Member for Community Engagement and Public Health
Martin Phillips, Cabinet Member for Community Engagement and Public Health

Men who are feeling down, depressed or suffering from anxiety are being encouraged to take action as part of a council campaign.

One in four of both men and women experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year, with anxiety and depression being the most common problems.

However, the difference is that women are more likely to recognise early warning signs and act on them but men often don’t. This campaign aims to change that.

HeadsUp, developed with the input of local men, has found that men are more likely to seek information online or turn to a family member or partner when they are feeling low.

The campaign goes live today, featuring the straplines ‘Tired of putting on an act’ and ‘Helping men stay happy.’ It directs men to a website (www.buckscc.gov.uk/headsup) with online check-ups, a toolkit of resources, case studies from local men and celebrities, a section encouraging partners and friends to look out for their man and ‘How to Keep Happy’ with hints and tips on how to stay well. There are also links to local and national support and information groups.

Martin Phillips, Cabinet Member for Community Engagement and Public Health said: “Men suffer from mental health problems like anxiety and depression at similar rates to women but are more likely to leave it until crisis point before they seek help.

“Men tend not to seek advice or help for their mental health early, yet nationally and locally the male suicide rate is consistently higher in men than women.

“The idea of the campaign is to approach the subject of mental health and wellbeing in men in a unique way. Based on what men in Buckinghamshire have told us we hope we can encourage men to keep happy and support them to seek help early if they need it. I would urge everyone in Buckinghamshire to visit the HeadsUp website and take a look at what’s out there. It may help you or someone you know get access to the advice or help needed to live a happier life.”

Dr John Pimm, Consultant Clinical Psychologist from the local NHS psychological therapies service Buckinghamshire Healthy Minds said: “National research suggests that men are less likely to seek help early, sometimes because they don’t recognise the symptoms of anxiety or depression, they are concerned about how other people may react or because they are not sure what to do. The reality is there is a lot of help available, and the earlier it is sought the better the outcome. HeadsUp includes a wealth of information from how to stay well, symptoms to look out for, and contact details - including Healthy Minds - for those who would like more help.”