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 :):