Monday, 6 February 2012

Lost in the system

Blog starts here

I haven't been in the habit of blogging daily most recently. However, I read a news story today that troubled me.

A young gentleman was found dead recently who had apparently been suffering depression for 10 years. Kevin Boyle had told his friends and family about his problems which resulted in him being sectioned and subjected to brutal treatment.

Kevin Boyle is said to be a talented chef who starred alongside TV chef Jamie Oliver.

click here to be taken to Kevin's site

This sort of thing troubles me.

There is so much stigma attached to mental illness and in dealing with my own experiences, I hadn't really taken the time to consider how widely the stigma varies. I watch people recoil when I tell them I suffer with depression. I don't exactly offer it as part of a normal conversation but being a student of psychology, the topic of mental health is often openly discussed.  I hadn't really considered that there was more of a stigma that went along with a male being affected with such issues.

I am aware through research that women are more than twice likely as men to suffer with depression. I also know that women are more predisposed to such illnesses. I never once considered how differently something like depression could affect a man.

We've all heard the saying that big boys don't cry. This in itself is a problem. Furthermore, for a man to admit he has depression it must be extremely hard.

You may have read an earlier blog I wrote which contained information about the suicide of Gary Speed. Now, for an 'ordinary' bloke I can imagine coming to terms with a mental issue would be difficult however, in cases like those of Gary Speed (a famous footballer) and Kevin Boyle (a chef) it must have been much harder for them given their 'masculine' choices of careers.

There needs to be a shake up to the mental health system. It needs to be made more accessible and it also needs to advertise mental illness better. It needs to be said OUT LOUD that suffering a mental illness doesn't make you weak. Getting help for a mental illness doesn't make you weak. Showing emotion doesn't make you weak!! 

The mental health system is in a very bad state. Doctors are (as I know from experience) far too quick to throw drugs at these problems. A referral to therapy can take months and that may or may not help! I imagine if I had plenty of money I could seek private help from doctors who would actually listen to me but for now, I, like many others, am becoming lost in the system!

I would love to hear from other male sufferers about their experiences, both through the NHS and private health care (or the alternative for their country).

People need to take a stand and have mental illness RECOGNISED as serious and the stigma needs to be REMOVED forever!! 

Keep Smiling :):


  1. Thank You, I am Kevin Boyle's mother... BIG BOYS DO CRY, IT'S ALLOWED AND SOCIETY NEEDS TO GET OVER IT. In England, Wales and Ireland suicicde is the biggest killer of young men between 13 and 35. This horrific statistic cannot remain unchallenged. As a woman, wife and mother I will not be complicit in the acceptance that silence is the way. For over 25 years I have been a voice in the wilderness, ridiculed, osctracised and basically told to keep quiet...The truth is Depression is a cancer of the mind body and spirit. Depression takes hostages, tortures them and in many cases is a killer. We Must not let this go on. God Bless, Patti Boyle

  2. Mrs Boyle,

    I am with you all the way in having a voice. As a sufferer myself I have to keep quiet about my illnesses in case I lose my job or my friends! Depression and mental illnesses are the biggest silent killers and people need to sit up and realise this! Those who know I have an illness, some of them treat me with pity, other's treat me like a leper and as if it may be contagious!

    Please let me know if there are any links you would like me to add to my blog to get people listening. Peter (who forwarded you my blog) said that you were looking for people to speak out about depression and I am only to happy to help.

    Please feel free to email me if you would like to talk further:

  3. I'm on the fence about this. Meaning, there are days I am glad I got help and finally told "the world" that I have mental illness(es). I have certainly gotten a lot of backlash because of it. The women in my community stopped talking to me. I lost a lot of "respect" (if that is what you wanna call it) from others. I was considered "weak, damaged goods, broken, unfix-able," ostracized and pushed to hide in a corner. Its been a lonely struggle and there are days that I question whether I made a good decision admitting I have these issues. I have lost a lot of family, friends, jobs, and respect that I "thought" I had, because they just couldn't understand some of my actions before I professional help....I made a lot of bad decisions when I was manic (I have combination type Bi-polar, among other things). There are days that I look back on my life and think "this isn't the kind of legacy I wanted to leave behind.....this is not what I wanted for my children!"
    I lost my younger sister, Felicia Pullar, to suicide. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of her. She is the person who "motivated" me to get help cause I knew if I didn't, I was going to have the same fate that she did. My one child is already being treated for the same issues as me but she learned the hard way NOT to tell anyone.....she learned it from watching how I was treated and I don't blame her at all.
    Mrs. Boyle~~I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.


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