Posted by: Laura Hammond
Mon 10th October 2022
Written by Tim Cox, founder of Bottled Up Blokes
Today is World Mental Health Day. I think it’s firstly important to state that every day should be a mental health day. It needs to become the norm and less stigmatised. Things are changing but more needs to be done.
My name’s Tim Cox, I’m the founder of Bottled Up Blokes, which is a mental health support group for men based in South Normanton. When I set the group up the aim was to provide a safe space for men to be open, speak about their life struggles and get things off their chest.
We try to do this by having a men’s only private Facebook group and hold a weekly peer to peer support group at the Church Hall in South Normanton every Thursday at 7.30pm.
I believe that talking is such an important part of trying to combat mental health struggles. That could be at support groups like ours, with a counsellor in a therapy session or even over a coffee with friends. As long as you are getting things out in the open and not letting them build up, it doesn’t matter who you’re talking to or what setting you’re in.
One thing I found when speaking with a counsellor is that the severity of what I’d been through didn’t register until the words came out my mouth. It was almost as if because it was locked away in the back of my head, it wasn’t as bad as it was. Saying it out loud made me sit back and realise how bad it actually was.
There are plenty of other things that people can do to help towards having good mental health.
Exercise is well known to benefit. It doesn’t have to be a full workout in the gym or a marathon, it could be a gentle walk. Just something to increase the heart rate and get the blood pumping around the body.
Ensuring you get a good night’s sleep is important. Lack of sleep can have a hugely negative impact on your mental health.
Meditation and mindfulness apps can be useful tools.
Having a good work-life balance is something that is becoming increasingly difficult right now but it’s really important. Not only is family time key but so is having time for yourself and being in your own space.
Also activities such as reading, watching a film or listening to music can be a way of lifting your mood.
Take a look at the NHS website for more tips for improving your mental health.
Something that I believe needs to be pushed more is that people need to act earlier. Most people seek help when they are rock bottom or close to it. There needs to be more done to intervene in this earlier.
My advice would be for people to act when they notice things don’t quite feel right. Speak to your GP, ring a mental health helpline, join groups like Bottled Up Blokes or speak to friends and family. It’s much easier to be picked up from a low place than it is from the lowest.
One of the things we stress at Bottled Up Blokes is that it doesn’t matter if you’re feeling slightly low or suicidal, whatever you are going through is valid. Everyone is dealing with their own troubles, you should not feel that yours is less important than anyone else’s.
Even though things are changing and improving all the time, there is still a stigma with mental health and a taboo around the word ‘suicide’. I lost my brother-in-law to suicide and it is truly horrible and heartbreaking, but discussions have to happen regardless of how uncomfortable they sometimes feel.
Jimmy Carr was recently on a podcast called Diary of a CEO with Steven Bartlett. In this he talks about depression and suicide and there’s a line he says which is extremely powerful: “suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem”. He’s absolutely right. Suicide is not the answer, nothing is that bade that it can’t be resolved.
If you feel as though you are struggling with your mental health, then there are plenty of places you can go to seek help:
If any men feel like they would like some support, then join or private Facebook group. Search for Bottled Up Blokes or come down to the Church Hall in South Normanton on a Thursday evening. Doors open at 7.30pm. It’s free to attend with refreshments provided.
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