Every November, to coincide with Movember (the national campaign to raise awareness of men’s mental health, suicide, prostate cancer and testicular cancer), we run our own men’s mental health awareness campaign called “Men’s Wellbeing Matters”.
The campaign is effectively there to encourage Surrey’s men (aged 16+) to open up about their mental health and share their wellbeing journeys with others, in order to help increase awareness amongst men, break stigma and discrimination, so more men get the confidence to speak up about their mental wellbeing and receive the support they need to turn their lives around. While many of us know it is always ok to ask for help, too many men still think it’s weak or pointless and they just have to toughen up and get on with it. It doesn’t have to be this way.
This initiative started when we looked at our own statistics showing a notable discrepancy between the number of male (or identifying as male) clients and female (or identifying as female) clients. Added to this, is worryingly high male suicide rates in the UK reportedly hitting a two-decade high last year. As a mental health charity, we want to campaign for better understanding and openness so more local men can get the support they desperately need but don’t always get.
Our campaign has been very successful so far so it turns out a lot of men DO want to talk about mental health. So we’ll let you do the talking and we’ll just provide the loudspeaker!
How you can get involved
If you would like to support this campaign, here is what you can do:
Ask for our support
If you are/identify as a man (aged 16+), living in Surrey and experiencing difficult emotions such as low mood or anxiety, whether you have been diagnosed with a condition or not, don’t hold back and ask for help! At MFT, we provide free one-to-one wellbeing support and access to a wide variety of online and face-to-face activities, groups and courses that are designed to help you restore and maintain your mental and emotional wellbeing.
If you live in Surrey and have issues such as debt, housing or benefits affecting your wellbeing, we also have an Advice and Information service, delivered online and over the phone. If you are based in Epsom & Ewell and have both financial and wellbeing issues, you can access our Financial and Wellbeing Support Service which can be delivered face-to-face by both ourselves and Citizens Advice Epsom & Ewell.
To receive our support, all you need to do is fill in our online registration form to tell us a bit more about yourself. We will follow up with a call and an initial appointment (either face-to-face, over the phone or on Zoom) where we will help you to come up with a wellbeing plan to help you achieve your specific goals and objectives.
If you feel you are experiencing a mental health crisis and can no longer cope, you can visit one of our Safe Haven crisis support services where you will be seen by a mental health professional and clinician who can support you, either face-to-face or online. Our Safe Haven services are located in Aldershot, Epsom, Guildford, Redhill and Woking. Please note there is a Young Adult Safe Haven in Guildford for anyone aged 18-25. Alternatively, visit our Crisis Support page where we’ve listed local and national mental health helplines.
Please note ALL OUR SERVICES ARE FREE and accessible to Surrey residents aged 16+.
Refer someone you know
If you know a man (aged 16+) living in Surrey, experiencing mental health or emotional wellbeing issues who could benefit from our support, you can also fill in our registration form on their behalf. Sometimes taking that first step of asking for help can be the hardest, so helping someone to register with our service can be the most supportive thing you can do, but please ensure that you have their consent to do so.
Campaign with us
You can download our Men’s Wellbeing Matters poster and share it on social media, pin it on noticeboards at your local supermarket or library, include it in your company’s or local newsletter…
We’re also looking for men to share their mental health stories with us as a written or video blog (training can be provided), a song or poem, or even a piece of art which we will publish on our website and promote on our social media platforms under our “Men’s Wellbeing Matters” campaign name. We do not disclose full names, only first names but it can stay anonymous if you prefer.
If you are prepared to talk on the local radio about your experience of mental health as a man, we’ll be supporting you to do so and can provide some coaching, so you can in turn change other men’s lives who might still hesitate about reaching out.
Mary Frances Trust is also part of End Stigma Surrey, a local campaign to break mental health stigma and discrimination in Surrey, which can provide further training on becoming a Mental Health Champion in your community.
Design for us
If you have design or artistic skills and would like to help us design cartoons, drawings and sketches that illustrate why men’s wellbeing matters in a creative way, do get in touch with Connie, our Communications Lead, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Longer term, we want to start a working group with local men to better understand the barriers that men face in asking for support and getting it. The working group will look at what could be missing in terms of mental health provision for men in Surrey which will then lead to co-designing men-specific activities, courses and groups with us that fully support men’s mental health and promote wellbeing, which we would then facilitate and promote.
Please note that at the moment, we do not have capacity internally to facilitate this working group ourselves. If you are interested in facilitating this group with us, or can provide funding for us to find a facilitator, please get in touch with Connie, our Communications Lead, at email@example.com
If you are interested in taking part in the working group as as participant, you can also get in touch and we will put you on a waiting list until the working group is able to start.
We already have many fantastic blogs written by men, including:
We have a very big collection of blogs on our website – written by clients, staff, volunteers or supporters all telling their lived experience of mental health and all worth a read and a share.
SEE ALL OUR BLOGS
Get in touch
We’ll be sharing further information in our newsletter and on social media so you’ll be hearing about this campaign a lot more!
To find out more, discuss a blog opportunity or ask any questions about Men’s Wellbeing Matters, please contact our Communications Lead, Connie Ridout at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you!