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"Please, talk to the men in your lives, let them know it’s okay to talk." James Makings

"Mental health is a daily struggle for practically everyone. But as a gay man, society allows me to talk through the issues I’m having with my friends, far more than it allows my straight counter parts. But that doesn’t mean the “men don’t cry”, “men don’t show weakness”, “stuff upper lip” messaging boys are told, doesn’t affect us. It’s taken me a long time to feel comfortable enough to open up to my friends about the dark thoughts and feelings I have, and even then, I usually try and spin it to not be so vulnerable. We must break down these barriers that men have had to build around themselves. We have to start telling boys it’s good to cry. We have to let the men in our lives know it’s okay to ask for help. We have to do this because lives literally depend on it. Suicide is the biggest killer of men between the ages of 18 and 50. Let that sink in. It’s not cancer, or heart disease. It’s suicide. 4,303 men* killed themselves in 2019 alone. That’s 3/4 of the total suicides for that year. The fact that men don’t feel they can share what they are going through is killing them. Last year I went though the blackest moment in my life, without the support and love friends and family, and knowing I could talk to them about how I felt, I would certainly have made it 4,304.

So please, talk to the men in your lives, let them know it’s okay to talk. Never mock them or shame them if they show emotion to things, even if it’s something as frivolous as a movie. And if you’re a man reading this and struggling, please don’t struggle in silence. Reach out to your friends, family, or professionals. They can truly help. It’s also so important that initiatives like @letsgetmentalking exist, and I’m honoured to try help them grow their platform. Follow them, and get your male followers to follow them too. It could just save a life.

*number sourced from the Office of National Statistics.” @jamakings

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