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4th November, 2021

This year, we are taking part in Movember! At a recent carer forum our CEO, Peter was asked if we could do more to raise awareness of men’s mental health and wellbeing. Well, we can!

Men are often more reluctant to seek support when they need it, so we’re going to help make a difference this November by raising awareness and funds for Movember.

Movember is the leading men’s health charity which focuses on mental health and suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer.

We have a team of Mo Bros and Mo Sisters, all ready to raise awareness and funds for Movember. Some are growing moustaches, some are running/walking 60km over the month of November and we even have one brave soul committing to 60 squats a day. You may be wondering why the figure 60? That’s because 60 men are lost to suicide worldwide every single hour. That’s one man every minute of every day.

You can donate to the team here.

Movember funds a number of projects and aims to reduce the amount of men lost to suicide by 25% by 2030. You can find the projects that they fund in the UK here.

What can WE do to help the men in our lives? Here is useful some information and links to support the prevention of suicide.

Suicide Prevention Awareness

Movember's research shows that stronger social connections can reduce the risk of suicide for men. That means helping more men to talk about things that really matter. Those conversations don’t always come easy, but here is a great tool from Movember in starting and keeping conversations going.

Spot someone who is struggling

It can be difficult spotting someone who is struggling. How many of us automatically reply with “I’m fine” when asked how we are? You can find some help from Movember here to spot a man who perhaps hasn’t quite been themselves lately.

Someone who is feeling suicidal might:

  • say that they feel like everything is just hopeless
  • show increasing and sudden episodes of anger and rage
  • start doing risky activities with no concern for their own safety or consequences
  • feel trapped, and express that they just can't see their way out of their problems
  • start misusing drugs or alcohol and/or self-harm
  • appear anxious, agitated, and become increasingly withdrawn

How to Help

If you think that someone's life is in immediate danger, call 999. You can find links and information about support organisations for people in crisis here.

You may be able to help someone simply by being there. Opening conversations and offering a listening ear is often more powerful than people realise.

ALEC - Movember

Here are Movember's four steps to helping someone who is struggling, to start talking (ALEC).

1. Ask

“You don’t seem yourself recently. Are you okay?”

Don’t be afraid to ask twice – it’s very easy to reply with “I’m fine” automatically.

2. Listen

You don't have to be a therapist to be able to listen. Helping someone isn't always about finding solutions either. When having a conversation, it's natural to want to talk about your own experiences too to show you relate, however for someone who needs help, actively listening can make the world of difference. Take a look at the SHUSH active listening technique from the Samaritans.

3. Encourage Action

Encourage him to open up to others that he trusts too and help him to think about things that might improve his wellbeing. Is he eating properly, sleeping okay, exercising?

If he’s been feeling low for a while, encourage him to speak with his doctor.

4. Check In

Make sure he knows you care. Arrange another meet up, or time to call. You can get a feel for if he’s feeling better.

Five steps to mental wellbeing

Here are five steps we can all take to help improve mental wellbeing.

  • Connect with other people - if you've found yourself becoming more isolated, reach out.
  • Be physically active - start small, release the feel-good chemicals and set some achievable goals.
  • Learn new skills - boost your confidence and build your feeling of purpose.
  • Give to others - helps you to connect and to build your feeling of self-worth.
  • Be mindful - pay attention to the present moment, rather than worrying about the past or future. It isn't easy to start with, but with practice, can give you a great sense of wellbeing. Read more here.

Remember that often, when feeling low, taking that first step to action is the hardest.

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An experienced fostering advisor from your local area will then be in touch.

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