Last week was Mental Health Awareness Week, which saw us being encouraged to be more aware of our mental health, not mental illness, just our general wellbeing. The positive impact is that conversations were started on social media to promote being aware of our own mental health, helping to reduce the stigma associated with mental health.
Considering the year we have all had, with the pandemic, the stress with work/no work/furlough/grants etc, it’s been even more relevant to try and be more self-aware. Not just in a week designated to promote the cause, but everyday.
But how can we do that?
Sometimes just taking a walk, or a run, a bike ride or having a session at the gym can give you the quiet space in your head, to just let go of the day’s stresses and strains. Family time, sitting watching a movie or playing games with the kids can all have the desired effect.
But what if you need a bit more?
How can you find local groups for talking therapies?
We know the NHS is struggling with long waiting lists, the impact of Covid has only made them longer, so what help can you access meantime, to get you started on the road to mental wellbeing?
The easiest way is to have a quick Google (other search engines are available!) for services local to you. Mind have local branches dotted all over the country, although they vary from place to place, but still worth a look. The Lighthouse Construction Club Charity have regional groups you can access. Then you can try searching “men’s mental health support” – this can bring up a huge range of groups, depending on where you are (voluntary groups do vary across the country).
You might find there is a local Andy’s Man Club, or a local “Walk and Talk” group, such as the one you can access through Menfulness a fantastic support group based in York which offers men group walks, football, running groups and family based activities and even counselling. They are well worth a look for their resources and to see how they are helping men in their community, who knows, it may give you an idea for starting up a group yourself! Take a look at the website for local and national contacts for support, as well as ways they can help you, what they are doing to raise mental health awareness and how you can support them.
But what is the appeal of a walking group?
Well for a start, it takes the emphasis off the talking. When you see a counsellor, it can be difficult to get the conversation going, it feels stiff, formal, constructed. Which of course it is. But that can make it too overwhelming for some.
Having another activity to concentrate on, often means the conversation flows without you really thinking about it. And you usually find you can talk more in depth about a much wider range of subjects. Again, type in ‘Men’s walk and talk’ on your internet search and you can find services local to you. It’s surprising just how many there are out there, if you just start looking.
The other thing is that you are talking to people who have gone through the same feelings, often we want to know that it’s not “Just Us” – the support we can get from sharing feelings and experiences with people we know can be enough to keep us on the right track.
If you feel you do need more formal counselling, as well as contacting your GP you can search your local IAPT referral services, which work on a self-referral basis as well as from the GP – giving as much information on the referral really is the key here, don’t hold back on the details of how you are feeling.
You can click on any of the highlighted text in the article for links to that organisation, here are a few more you may find helpful;
Calm – Campaign Against Living Miserably.
Every Mind Matters – The NHS website for tips on improving your mental health.
Samaritans – online resources and contact details for support.
Lighthouse Club The Construction Industry Club – The only charity providing support directly to workers in the construction industry.
Hubofhope.co.uk – a free search service for nearby services – wherever you are.
If you feel you are in crisis and need to speak to someone now;
Text SHOUT to 85258
Call Samaritans on 116 123
Go to your local A&E
We need to keep the conversation going, it’s the only way we can raise mental health awareness. Our industry loses 2 men to suicide every single day. Keep talking, not just for yourself, but for your mates too. We would all rather have that difficult conversation with someone we care about than have them become part of that terrible statistic. No more buts!
Join the conversation, on our Facebook Group here – Builders Talk Group.