BLOG:Will young men talk about their mental health?
For Healthwatch Barking and Dagenham, World Mental Health Day back in October was a good one. Working together with LifeLine Projects, Faith Action, Barking and Dagenham College, the Community Recovery Team from NELFT and the Local Authority – we were able to reach out and engage with young people at both Campus’s in Barking and Rush Green as well as manning a stand in Barking Square.
At Rush Green we spoke to 80 students about what we do and explored mental health issues from their perspective. This was great - however… there was an Elephant in the room…
ALL 80 STUDENTS WERE FEMALE!
We need to ask ourselves why is this? Why are young men not talking about or engaging with their mental health and wellbeing?
For those in the 16–24 age range, estimates suggest that only 13% of young men experiencing a recent mental health problem will access mental health services. Young men are among the least likely to seek help for mental health needs. So what’s going on in our community to elicit such a negative response to the issue?
The development of mental ill-health in adolescence and emerging adulthood impacts on the most economically productive years of life and sets a challenge for local mental health service providers to encourage teenage and adolescent boys to access the help that is available to them.
There are no hard and fast answers – having services available is good as long as young men are prepared to use them… which brings us back to our elephant in the room and a challenge that was set to all the female students sat before us… take the initiative and give your male peers and friends the heads up about mental health wellbeing and that it is ok to talk about it.
Healthwatch Barking and Dagenham are working on a project about mental health and Isolation that focuses on young people; we are very interested to hear about local community initiatives that encourage and support adolescent men with their mental health needs. If this is you or a local organisation you know about - contact me - Richard Vann - on Freephone 0800 298 5331 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org