Men’s Health Week 2020: Trust calls on men to talk about their mental health

Posted: 15/06/20

Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW), a provider of mental health and disability services, is encouraging men to talk about their mental health in support of Men’s Health Week.

Taking place on 15-21 June and ran by the Men’s Health Forum, Men’s Health Week raises awareness of the health issues that affect men disproportionately. It focuses on men becoming more aware of health problems they have or could develop and gain the courage to do something about it.

As it has been found that men are twice more likely to die from Covid-19 than their female counterparts, this year’s theme of Men’s Health Week is ‘Take Action on Covid-19′. Men’s Health Forum have called on men, employers and the government to take steps to prevent the virus from doing more damage.

It’s normal to feel stressed or anxious during these uncertain times. If you’re not feeling great, you’re not alone but that doesn’t mean it’s easier to talk about it.

CNTW asked male staff how they are feeling during the pandemic and how the pandemic might have affected them. Clinical psychologist Dr Nicholas Hudson has shared his thoughts.

“My COVID-19 story is not one characterised by ill health, financial difficulty, or loss of loved ones. Like many others I have experienced the looming existential dread and the queasy feeling watching the news or opening notifications on my phone. When I saw the invite for men’s stories related to COVID-19, I initially waved it off.

“I thought ‘nothing dramatic has happened to me. I have a roof over my head, I haven’t been unwell. I haven’t experienced the devastation of loss’.

“However, the invite to write this story stayed with me. When I thought a little deeper on what life’s been like for me, during the pandemic I have lost a great deal of things that fulfil me and enrich my life. Going to the gym, cinema trips to enjoy the latest epic. Small things to some – but huge parts of me, my identity, and who I am. At times I’ve felt lost and a little numb. Who am I now, in this strange new world?

“I put a lot of pressure on myself to look after others. To check in on my mother who’s shielding. My brother. Friends. The weight of care and wearing all those different hats each with their own pressures: a psychologist, a husband, a brother, a son, a friend, all compounding to increase that pressure even further.

“I’ve had to be creative to keep going, even when tired and with aspects of fulfilment off-limits to me at the moment. If I could promote any message to the men out there during Men’s Health Week, I would say be compassionate to you.

“Find that part of yourself where you are kind to others, and turn it inward. Take a break, try and find that fulfilment when you can. It’s okay to admit that times are hard, stressful, and you’re struggling. Get out for a run. Sit and relax. Meditate. Read that book you’ve been meaning to read.

“You most certainly aren’t alone, we’re struggling too. But we’ll get there.”

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