‘Only 24% of men who have felt high levels of stress have discussed this with a friend or family member. I know I am often in the 76% that hunkers down and pretends things are fine. This is worrying, because we know internalising problems often makes them worse’. (Mark Rowland, Chief Executive, Mental Health Foundation)
It is Movember and although I am not attempting to grow a moustache I thought it would be a good opportunity to blog about our male carer meet-up events that run monthly.
The aim of the events is simply to provide an opportunity for men who are carers to get together socially and have some fun as well as connect with other men through conversation. This is something men traditionally tend not to do and there is evidence to suggest this has a detrimental effect on mental and physical health.
We are living in a time where maybe that pressure to ‘be strong’ (in the sense of holding things together and not expressing vulnerability) as a man is easing. To me this is a positive thing. Popular male culture can have an isolating effect on many men (I have experienced this myself) and we know that being a carer can also be an isolating experience. At a time where the world feels very fragmented and divided it seems all the more important to focus on what unites us as human beings – and sharing our experiences and spending time with others (whether on a country walk, over lunch or in a bowling alley!) is a positive way to do this.
So, if you are male and a carer – come and join us! We will be happy to see you and as one of our regular carers Malcolm recently told us “I enjoy the company and the activities’ – hopefully you will too.
Tom Harris – Carer Support Worker