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Men across Gloucestershire and Herefordshire are being urged to talk about and seek help for mental health problems during Men’s Health Week, which starts today (June 10).

Men’s Health Week is an annual event promoted by the Men’s Health Forum, and this year the campaign is focussing on tackling stigma in men’s mental health and promoting mental well-being for men.

Despite the fact that men and women experience mental health problems in roughly equal numbers, men are much less likely to be diagnosed and treated for it.

That’s something that needs to change, according to Dr Chris Fear, Consultant Psychiatrist and Associate Medical Director at ²gether.

He said: “Men are often reluctant to seek support, feeling that mental health problems are a sign of weakness.

“We need to overcome this stigma and speak out, so that men feel more confident to come forward and seek the support they need.

“After all, one in four of us will be affected by a mental health problem at some point in our lives, and often the hardest thing is admitting there is a problem in the first place.

“Too many men ‘self-medicate’ by drinking too much alcohol or taking drugs, when there are a whole host of support services and treatments available to them.

“I’d urge any men struggling with mental health problems to speak to their GP or another health professional and if you know a man who seems to be struggling with their mental wellbeing, please encourage them to talk to someone about it.”

Another man keen to encourage others to seek help with mental health problems is 52-year-old Gloucester builder David Holder.

David, from Abbeymead, was diagnosed with Bi-polar disorder following his admission to an Acute Mental Health Ward when he was 26. He’s since written a book about his experiences – The Psychotic Episode – and volunteers with ²gether, offering support and hope to people going through similar experiences to his own.

He said men should not feel embarrassed about speaking about mental health issues or seeking help.

“I speak very openly about my experiences, both through public speaking and generally to people I meet and the people I do work for,” he explained.

“I always tell men I know that it’s not their fault and there’s no shame in it. There’s too much stigma attached to mental illness and we need to combat it.”

To read about the services ²gether offers, including our Let’s Talk service which offers information, guidance and therapy for people suffering with stress, anxiety, depression or similar conditions, please visit www.²gether.nhs.uk

To read more about Men’s Health Week and the Men’s Health Forum campaign, please visit http://www.menshealthforum.org.uk/mhw

*Please note, this press release was reposted after the event, due to technical issues with this website*

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