Men’s Health Month: Mental Health
According to government reports, men could now expect to live for 16.2 years in poor health. With this statistic in mind, this Men’s Health Month, I’m aiming to highlight some simple ways men can try and reduce this figure – and therefore increase their quality of life. Last week, we looked at Heart Health. Now, we turn our focus to mental health and wellbeing.
Mental health is a major problem, especially in today’s fast paced society. Women are more likely to address their mental health, whilst men may look to ‘man up’ and suffer in silence. Male suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 – with statistics revealing that 84 men take their own life each week.
Furthermore, of all suicides in the UK, 75% of them were committed by men.
Not seeking help for issues such as stress, anxiety and depression is a major risk factor.
• CONNECT WITH OTHERS: It is important that men learn not to suffer in silence or worry about embarrassment. Talking about mental health issues, seeking help and support, is vital. The sooner you realise you are not alone, and that help is available, the sooner you can start to feel better.
• WHAT WAS GOOD? So often at the end of the day, we will focus on what went wrong, where we ‘failed’ and what we are unhappy with in life. This is very much human nature, but it’s important to recognise that it does not help. Making time every day to ask yourself ‘what was good’, ‘what went well’ and ‘what makes me happy’, can really start to change your mindset.
• RELAX & UNWIND: This does not mean just looking at the TV or a screen, it means taking steps to physically relax. This could be through exercise, relaxation techniques, yoga, controlled breathing, or even taking time out to have a laugh with friends – whatever works for you. This will help to empty your ‘stress bucket’.
Supplements are not there to provide a solution to your woes, but they can offer some additional support:
• PROBIOTICS! Probiotics are not just for the health of our gut! The gut and the brain are intimately linked, and the bacteria in your gut are responsible for producing important brain chemicals. These include serotonin – also known as your happy chemical – and GABA, a substance which helps to keep you calm. Several specific probiotic strains have been highlighted by research into the link between gut bacteria and the brain, these are: L. acidophilus, L. casei, L. rhamnosus and B. bifidum. Even better is if you can take these good bacteria combined with B vitamins and magnesium, as these nutrients can help to support the nervous system.
• CBD: Contrary to much of the publicity around this popular food supplement, CBD is not the same as cannabis. It is actually a substance found in industrial hemp. The rest of the publicity around it though is very promising, and research indicates that it can naturally help people to feel calmer and more in control.
Look out for my final Men’s Health blog next week, where I’ll be exploring Sexual Health & Prostate Health.
Written by Jenny Logan DNMed (Jenny is a nutritional therapist who has worked with clients in health food stores and private clinics for over 20 years).