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Be in your mate’s corner

Warrington Borough Council’s public health team and partners are encouraging men to speak out about mental health.

Earlier this year a group of local organisations, led by Warrington Borough Council, asked local men their views on mental health.

Out of the 586 men who responded, over 60% felt that men they know are not likely to recognise symptoms of mental health problems in themselves and 75% thought it unlikely that men they know would go to see their GP if they were feeling down.

Men were also asked where they would like to receive advice, information and support from in relation to mental health with 82% saying they would prefer to talk to men who had experienced similar problems. The full survey report is available on Warrington Borough Council’s website.

Time to Change, the mental health campaign run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, carried out research into men’s attitudes towards mental health and found that men are less knowledgeable about mental health and far less likely to report their own experiences of mental health problems.

They are also less likely to discuss mental health problems with a professional and three times more likely to take their own lives than women, with suicide being the leading cause of death in men under 45.

The council and its partners are now urging men to recognise the importance of their own mental health, how their attitudes and behaviours can influence other people’s experiences of mental health and that being in a friend’s corner can make all the difference.

Men are encouraged to step in, if a mate is acting differently and to:

  1. Text, call, reach out
  2. Listen without judging
  3. Be themselves and do everyday things

Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, executive board member for public health and wellbeing, said: “The stress and strain of daily life can affect anyone, at any time. For some it can lead to serious mental health problems, or to people feeling overwhelmed and suicidal. It’s vital that we make sure men know how and where to get help if they feel unable to cope.

“In Warrington we want to make sure that men get the information, advice and support they need, either to maintain their mental wellbeing, or to recover, if they are experiencing mental health problems or know someone else who needs support.”

One in four of us will experience mental health problems this year and having someone in your corner who will listen without judgement can help you make positive steps towards recovery.

Time to Change’s ‘In Your Corner’ initiative uses the theme of boxing to highlight men’s mental health and showcase that regular guys – ‘corner men’ – are in a mate’s corner when he really needs them.

Throughout November and December, LiveWire Libraries are hosting a ‘red stool’ in support of campaign. There will also be accompanying leaflets and a book display providing relevant advice and support.

This promotion will be available at the following venues:

  • 21  November– Birchwood Library, Brock Road, WA3 7PT
  • 24  November– Woolston Library, Hall Road, WA1 4PN
  • 28 November– Culcheth Library, Warrington Road, WA3 5SL
  • 1 December– Lymm Library, Davies Way (off Brookfield Road), WA13 0QW
  • 5 December– Burtonwood Library, Chapel Lane, WA5 4PS
  • 7 December– Stockton Heath, Alexandra Road, WA4 2AN
  • 12 December– Westbrook Library, Westbrook Crescent, WA5 8UG
  • 15 December– Warrington Library, Museum Street, WA1 1JB
  • 19 December– Penketh Library, Honiton Way, WA5 2EY

Wendy Molyneux, strategic library manager at LiveWire, said: “With one in four of us fighting a mental health problem in any given year, initiatives like In Your Corner help raise understanding about mental health issues and are a positive step in changing attitudes and behaviours.”

You can find details of helplines, online support and other services which have been designed especially for men at www.happyoksad.org.uk. The website also includes information to help you look after your mental wellbeing and feel good.

If you are feeling desperate or are having thoughts of suicide, you can talk to your GP, or call the Warrington Assessment Team on 01925 666 647. The assessment team is for people aged 18 or over with moderate to severe symptoms of mental health problems.

You can also call Samaritans on 116 123; PAPYRUS HOPELineUK for young people on 0800 068 41 41; or CALM (for men) on 0800 58 58 58 (5pm to midnight). These three charities support people who are struggling to cope, feeling suicidal, or who are worried about a friend or family member.

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