The pandemic is having catastrophic consequences on millions of people’s lives, and with the third national lockdown coinciding with January blues, Caridon Foundation is extremely concerned about the impact on people’s mental health.
More than 80% of Caridon Foundation referrals have complex mental health needs, so we have a profound understanding of the toll that the pandemic is having on individuals. Loss of employment, financial despair, social isolation and the numerous other pressures that lockdown is causing, is triggering a mental health crisis.
But today, we want to speak specifically about the impact this is having on men, explore why men often suffer in silence and offer a reminder to everyone that you are NOT alone and help is at hand.
Are you incapable of getting to sleep a night, or perhaps you fall to sleep but are jolted awake in the early hours as all your darkest fears creep up on you? If you are a man, it is highly likely that you haven’t told a soul about your concerns. Not your wife, partner, family or friends, and you certainly haven’t sought any kind of professional help. In fact, you probably haven’t really admitted to yourself you have a mental health issue, but rather that whatever is worrying you is just something you have to fix?
According to research, three out of four suicides in Britain are men and it is possible that this is because men are 40 per cent more likely than women to hide a mental health problem for two years or longer.
The current situation has stripped everyone of their pressure-releasing activities, but women are far more likely to reach out to a friend and go for a walk, or chat endlessly through their problems over the phone. For men, their usual outlets such as going to the pub, chatting to a friend or colleague at work or taking part in a team sport, have all been stripped away.
Through the work we do at Caridon Foundation, we know the importance that physical wellbeing has on mental health, and is the key reason we started the Caridon Foundation Eagles, an adult mental health football team in Croydon. We have seen the deterioration of our tenants’ mental health since the start of this lockdown and people are being forced to weigh up the risks of getting Coronavirus with protecting their own mental health.
We are working hard to create an online community and activities which will keep people active, feeling connected and supported. But the message we want to instill in everyone is it is ok not to feel ok. More people than you could ever imagine are feeling exactly the same as you right now and help is available as soon as you ask for it.
It can be anonymous, it can be online, over the phone, or in some cases even face to face. Do NOT suffer in silence. If you are struggling or have any concerns at all, whether it is relationships, health worries, anxiety, financial stress, feeling isolated or helpless, and have had or are having suicidal thoughts, remember help is ALWAYS available – please talk to someone today.
If you need immediate help and are worried you can’t keep yourself safe, go to your nearest A&E department or call 999 if you can’t get to a hospital. If A&E isn’t an option, or you just want to talk to someone, here are some numbers:
Samaritans – Call 116 123
Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) – for men
Call 0800 58 58 58 – 5pm to midnight every day