Tuesday the 19th November is International Men’s Day, a day to celebrate the positive value that men bring to their communities, families, and the world. It's estimated that one in eight men in the UK suffer from a common mental health problem. However, it can be difficult for men to open up about their mental health or seek help. This International Men's Day, we want to highlight the importance of men looking after their own mental health and knowing that it’s okay to need help.
At Trust Links, our four therapeutic gardening sites provide a great opportunity for men to make friends, take part in practical activities, and reach out to a support network of people going through similar difficulties with their mental health. We’ve spoken to some of the men that attend our work parties, classes, and gardening sessions, to find out what like they about Trust Links and what looking after your mental health means to them.
"To put it simply coming to Trust Links gets me out of the house,” Richard told us. "Coming here helps me to socialise with others. We’re a friendly bunch, really, and that has made all the difference”.
Richard has been a Trust Links member for three years now. Coming to Trust Links each Friday has given him an outlet and allowed him to make a clean start with new friends, after many years of struggling to control his emotions and mental health. "I laugh at myself a lot more than I used to,” he continued. "It’s good for me to hear four or five different opinions about what I’m going through. It helps me think about myself more clearly.”
"It’s definitely been good for my mental health to have come to Trust Links.”
"Everyone’s got some issue they need to deal with,” Colin from Rochford said. "If you’ve got an issue and you can’t deal with it alone they can usually help. It’s support on tap.”
Social pressures around "what it means to be a man” and needing to act strong at all times can actually leave men and boys vulnerable, by stigmatising mental health support as "looking weak”. At our Community Shed in Thundersley, men have the chance to open up and talk about any difficulties whilst working side-by-side on woodworking and other DIY activities. Oliver, Trust Links member for 4 years, said: "The conditions of society mean that men are shy to speak about mental health. But when we work together it opens things up.”
"We’re like a family!” Oliver went on. "A problem shared is a problem halved. Trust Links teaches you tolerance of yourself and tolerance of others. You can learn new skills and make friends!”
If you or a man you know is experiencing difficulties with their mental health, or if you are just curious about the work that Trust Links do, please get in touch with Emma at email@example.com, call us on 01702 314 324 or visit us at one of our sites.