Men's Mental Health Conference in Somerset

08/10/15 . News

Somerset takes the lead nationally to raise awareness about men’s mental health and works with partners to ensure that the right support and services are available. The Conference "Putting Men into Mental Health" brings together a wide range of stakeholders to discuss the evidence recently compiled by the Men’s Health Forum on how to make mental health services work for men.   

The latest Somerset suicide audit report shows that 74% of suicides and undetermined deaths in Somerset during 2010-2012 were male, this reflects the picture in England and Wales (76%). Nationally three-quarters of the people who take their own lives are men. 73% of adults who go missing from home are men and over 80% of those permanently excluded from school due to behavioural difficulties are boys. Men experience more poor mental health than women. Men who suffer from poor mental health have problems engaging with the health system and gaining social support of friends, relatives and the community, so it is in everyone’s interest to address men’s mental health and promote their wellbeing.

Councillor Anna Groskop, Somerset County Council, Cabinet Member with responsibility for health, said: "Somerset is a national frontrunner in addressing men's mental health issues. We host a Men’s Health Interest Group with representatives attending from local government, police, health services, probation services and voluntary sector to discuss ways of improving men’s health and wellbeing. Men of all ages are seen as a high risk group that need dedicated interventions to help them seek support for mental health issues earlier. Men often have mental health needs that are distinct from those of women and which are particularly associated with the lived experience of being male.  Some of these needs are not being met as effectively as they might. The conference this month will bring together around 150 different stakeholders from a range of disciplines including local authorities, health Care, police, probation, third sector and local health related businesses.  They will look at evidence collected by the Men’s Health Forum and start to develop new ways of thinking to promote men’s health.”

Among the speakers of the conference are Jonny Benjamin, mental health campaigner and producer of the movie “The Stranger on The Bridge” and the comedian John Ryan who uses comedy to address men’s mental health issues.  

Delegates are tweeting about the day with the #mensmentalhealth.

The Men’s Health Forum need your support

It’s tough for men to ask for help but if you don’t ask when you need it, things generally only get worse. So we’re asking.

In the UK, one man in five dies before the age of 65. If we had health policies and services that better reflected the needs of the whole population, it might not be like that. But it is. Policies and services and indeed men have been like this for a long time and they don’t change overnight just because we want them to.

It’s true that the UK’s men don’t have it bad compared to some other groups. We’re not asking you to ‘feel sorry’ for men or put them first. We’re talking here about something more complicated, something that falls outside the traditional charity fund-raising model of ‘doing something for those less fortunate than ourselves’. That model raises money but it seldom changes much. We’re talking about changing the way we look at the world. There is nothing inevitable about premature male death. Services accessible to all, a population better informed. These would benefit everyone - rich and poor, young and old, male and female - and that’s what we’re campaigning for.

We’re not asking you to look at images of pity, we’re just asking you to look around at the society you live in, at the men you know and at the families with sons, fathers and grandads missing.

Here’s our fund-raising page - please chip in if you can.

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