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Thoughts about Men’s Mental Health and Politics – Mccauley Matthews

22 Mar 2022

My name is Mccauley Matthews and I am 19 years old. I am from Cardiff and I enjoy photography and rugby. I also love dogs and have a rottweiler of my own.

I’m going to discuss a topic close to my heart today which is politics and mental health struggles in men.

In the UK, 3 times of men have died by suicide than women and 3 quarters of missing people are men. On top of this, men are less likely to access psychological therapies than women: only 36% of referrals to NHS talking therapies are for men. The treatment that men get for their mental health is often too little or too late. As you can see more needs to be done by politicians, healthcare professionals and governing bodies to prioritise the mental health and wellbeing of men today.

I’m going to talk about what I think could be done to those in need. When I was a teenager, I struggled with severe depression and anxiety, during these dark times I received little to no support of services and was made to “go with the flow”. I was left on my own to battle with my demon every day. What helped me battle through these dark times was support of my family, rugby and my pets.

In my opinion, schools should have more training and awareness of mental health/mental ill health in boys and men. This is because lots of problems can be caught early in schools, for example exams stress. I think that schools should have designated mental health professionals to guide and help young teens battling with their emotions as I was battling within school with little support from any professionals.

I also believe that sports can relieve stress, depression, and anxiety. This is because in my personal experience I was playing rugby for school and for a club. When I played, I felt that all my problems and worries washed away. I think it would be a good idea if there were spaces where we can go to play sport free of judgment and have chats without the fear of stigma.

I also think that politicians play a great role in shaping the mental health system. Currently the mental health system is outdated and not fit for purpose. The mental health charity Mind has said –

A disproportionate number of people from Black backgrounds are detained under the Mental Health Act. Rates of detention for Black groups are over four times those of White groups, whilst Community Treatment Orders, made by a responsible clinician to give someone supervised treatment in the community, are eight times higher for Black or Black British groups that for White groups. They are also at greater risk of restraint, seclusion and other restrictive practices when detained for mental health treatment. At the same time, they are less likely to access primary care or IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) than the general population and consistently record lower recovery rates.

The Mental Health Foundation has said –

Men are more likely to be compulsorily detained (or ‘sectioned’) for treatment than women.

Men make up the vast majority of the prison population. There are high rates of mental health problems and increasing rates of self-harm in prisons.

These facts and figures show that are large disparities within the mental health system. As a man I believe that the government should be doing more to not only to address but also priorities our mental health.

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