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Men’s Mental Health

When involved in a rugby club such as Lansdowne, it brings so many benefits. The community, the sense of belonging, the team aspect. A rugby club is a place to go no matter where you’ve been that you can see a familiar face and feel welcomed. For our own minds, it’s so important to have these close social ties and be part of a community – something that brings you fulfillment in life.

Unfortunately, for men, we still find it hard to talk about what’s going on for us, and this stigma leads to men being less likely to get support when they need it, as well as contributing to higher deaths from suicide. Part of this fear of being vulnerable is ingrained in us from when we’re very young – “big boys don’t cry”.

Think about this for a second. Imagine getting the most exciting news of your life – the birth of your first child, getting engaged, buying your first house – whatever that looks like for you. And imagine someone told you that you had to hold in all those positive feelings and not express your excitement and happiness at all. How difficult is that? It’d be difficult because expression is important.

Now think about when something bad happens in life, and the people around you and your own mind tells you to “man up” or “stop crying” or “put on a brave face”. Why do we say things like this? Every man at some point will have felt down or upset or vulnerable at some point. These terms are driving stigma and encouraging men to hide how they feel, and when we try and hide those things, it only makes things more difficult.

Whether it’s with your family, your children or your friends, lets start moving away from the idea that guys don’t have feelings. Let’s move towards making it okay to talk about something whether you’re upset or delighted, without fear that you’ll be laughed at or joked about. A place where it’s okay not to be okay.

To donate to men’s mental health, check out my Movember page:

Joe O Brien

Spectrum Mental Health

Instagram: @headfirst0

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