Looking After Daddy: Men’s Health Awareness Week

The 10th of June marks the start of Men’s Health Awareness Week, in perfect timing with Father’s Day at the end of this week.

For this article, we’re going to focus on one of the biggest health hurdles parents struggle with; mental health.

We’ve noticed that mental health campaigns geared towards parenting more often than not are mummy-oriented, with less focus on the mental health of daddies, which isn’t fair. A happy, healthy daddy is just as important, and this is a cause we’re very much on board with.

What is Men’s Health Awareness Week?

This awareness campaign is dedicated to informing men on how to achieve and maintain health; this years campaign focuses on ‘health by numbers’ – the optimal amount of time exercising, calorie allowance, blood pressure etc, as many men aren’t aware leading to health problems. One in five men die before the age of 65, and this campaign aims to change that through information.

Get the daddy in your life to take the health by numbers quiz here!

You can find out more about this here, it’s incredibly important information for all you lovely daddies!

To touch back on our key theme for this week, the campaign also highlights that 75% of all suicides committed are by men. This is just awful and shows a clear need to focus mental health support more on men. Luckily, older societal attitudes are changing from the message that men should be ‘stoic’ and ‘just get on with things’, and the stigma surrounding male depression and mental health issues is dissipating. The ‘Movember Campaign’ by Mind is one of the best campaigns aimed at destigmatising male mental health problems, but clearly more needs to be done to reduce this hugely disproportionate statistic.

It’s also worth mentioning that whilst the main topic of Men’s Health Week this year is health by numbers, poor health in areas in terms of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and other problems covered can actually lead to diminished mental health and lack of self esteem, it all goes hand in hand so it’s worth looking into the physical health side of the campaign too, if it’s applicable.

Our best blogs on men’s mental health

One of our daddy guest bloggers, Ross Hunt of Isablog, is very prominent with his campaigning for awareness when it comes to the mental health of daddies, particularly Post Natal Depression. His blogs document his journey as a new dad struggling with PND and his bonding with his little girl (as well as some hilarious shenanigans!). Here’s one of his original videos describing his experience; we found it so informative and enlightening!

Read Postnatal Depression – A Dad’s Story here.

Read I Didn’t Hate My Daughter – I Hated Myself here.

Read Letter To My Baby here.

Where can I seek support for my mental health?

If you’re a man and struggling with your mental health, firstly, well done for recognising that you need some support. That’s the hardest step for most of us, male or female! Don’t hesitate to visit your GP, who will be happy to discuss your feelings with you and help you to make steps that will lead to improved mental health. We’d visit a doctor for a physical ailment, and a mental ailment should be no different, right?

There are also many fabulous mental heath resources you can access online and over the phone…

Lee Cambule, the Wales Project Manager for Mind, advises the following;

  • Talking to someone you trust, a close friend or family member, maybe even your doctor (my sister was the first person I could open up);
  • Considering why you find it uncomfortable asking for help and whether those reasons are actually stopping you from getting the support you need;
  • Reading more about mental health and the varied guidance and advice that is easily accessible;
  • Finding a support group, there are many around the country that are free and open to anyone (a friend of mine runs a very helpful drop-in service in Clydach near Swansea);
  • Consider what are your weapons in this fight (i.e. the ways you combat poor mental health) – it could be anything from regular exercise to spending time with friends (for me, creative writing helps to lift me during the darker days);
  • Finding stories and case studies that will help you understand what other men have been through;
  • Getting involved in the great campaigns and activities that raise awareness of mental health (I love being a part of TTCW but there are many ways to get involved).

Please look out for the daddy in your life. Men can be less likely to speak out if they’re struggling with both physical and mental problems, so it’s important that we are supportive and encouraging. Look after daddy, he’ll appreciate it. To all the daddies reading this, take care and don’t be afraid to speak up if something is amiss.

Love from Team BBY! Xx