IIn the middle of 2020, amidst a pandemic, 19-year-old Lier George – the younger brother of love island star d Alex George – He died by suicide. What made it even more annoying for the Llyr family, like countless others, was that there was no warning sign. The unanswered questions exacerbated the grief. “Unfortunately, men are still more likely to commit suicide than women” says his brother today – three-quarters of suicides in the UK in 2020 were by men. “A terrible shame [that many] They don’t tell you, so you don’t realize they’re struggling. We know that men generally use violent forms of suicide, while women have more help-seeking behaviors and often present to A&E or will talk to their friends.”
Since his brother’s death in July 2020, the man known as Dr. Alex has used his platform to help ensure that other individuals do not suffer in silence. Eye Shabab Downing Street Psychological health The ambassador last year, he has no illusions about the mission he is doing. “Essentially we have a treatment-based model in this country where mental health services are expected to deal with the suffering of everyone. They are actually designed for only about three percent of everyone they see — for anorexia, bipolar disorder, or other psychotic illnesses. Whereas a lot of anxiety and depression – even early body image issues – can be dealt with in society.”
Thus, George called on Liz Truss to fund 190 early support centers. Designed to be without waiting time — and aimed at people up to 25 years old — they should, Think Think, eliminate early anxiety before it turns into something much worse. Case in point: “One of the biggest mistakes we make when talking about body image is that we mostly talk about women,” he says. But hundreds of thousands of young people across the country are taking steroids to change their appearance. When I was 15, I wouldn’t have seen men with perfect bodies every day unless I bought them men’s health magazine. Now you go to Instagram and that’s all you see. Men are affected by it.”
The love island The graduate is reminded of his own battles with body image, including a short period before entering the villa. “Before the show, I felt tremendous pressure to look a certain way; I was training for two hours a day, starving, not seeing friends. I wouldn’t even have coffee because I didn’t want to have calories with milk. Even if I looked at what it would look like Stereotypically looking good, I felt pretty awful.”
Of course, it is not only young people who are failing society at the moment. In 2021, males aged 50 to 54 were found to have the highest suicide rate in England and Wales. Chris Hall, founder of a nonprofit organization that addresses mental health issues in hospitality called The Burnt Chef Project, also points out that traditionally male-dominated industries promote stress and anxiety. “In the context of hospitality, and certainly within the male arena, you are under a lot of pressure and you have to make sure that you are not the weak link,” he explains. “You don’t want to be the one who sinks the ship, especially when everyone else is experiencing high levels of stress.”
When it comes to professional kitchens, for example, the 35-year-old regularly tells chefs that there is nothing unusual about being vulnerable. “Being able to identify that you are human and susceptible to emotions, feelings, and illnesses is a powerful tool to be able to use in a 70 percent male-dominated environment. You can still be conservative and lead with courage.”
Over the past decade, the Hall Scheme has supported and trained thousands of individuals in hundreds of countries. As part of the recent workplace stress index, which included 673 people working in the hospitality sector (about one-sixth of them were men), 69.44 percent of male workers claimed that unrealistic time pressures affected their well-being. Ultimately, says Hall, we will only be able to create safe spaces for men to seek solace and openness if we focus on corporate-level culture, not just a few rotten eggs.
“Everyone perceives the stereotypes of the world’s angry chefs as being very aggressive and dominant,” he explains. “But I see people who have succumbed to high levels of stress over a period of time, and their ability to deal in an emotionally intelligent way has been severely affected. Unless you provide people with the tools and support they need to understand, stop and switch this behavior, they are not going to change.”
It is estimated that there are more than 1.5 million people currently waiting for a mental health appointment with the NHS. This wasn’t much of a surprise to Hall, who chose to seek special help after he himself reached a crisis point in his twenties and found himself in the back of the phone line. A decade later and a global pandemic later, he warned that – with the help of one of the worst living crises in modern history – we could sleepwalk into the new rock-bottom of men’s mental health. “In the post-Covid era, we’re already seeing millions of people on waiting lists to access treatment for at least three to six months,” he says. “At the same time, we have private processors that increase their costs due to the balance of supply and demand.”
Like George, Hall believes it is unfair to blame the NHS. It’s simply too big for that. “With mental health awareness rising, people are asking for help sooner, but we don’t have the mechanisms to deal with it. That’s why I am so excited to create free-access services to help stem the tide.”
Another person bringing these topics out of the shadows now is Conor O’Keeffe, a Cork super-sprinter who recently ran the equivalent of 32 marathons in 32 days across 32 Irish counties. The endurance athlete even started the challenge with 32 pounds on his back to symbolize negative thoughts. He has thrown in a pound a day to help raise more than £60,000 for Beta House, just one of the charities currently bearing some of the burden on Ireland’s struggling mental health services.
Along the way, O’Keeffe, 30, was personally joined by followers on social media and listeners to his podcast. One encounter with a young man in Clare County stuck to mind. “It was a surface-level conversation—college, sports, future plans,” O’Keefe recalls. “Once we ran a little bit together he jumped in his car and drove off.” Minutes later, the young man stopped in front of O’Keefe and jumped out of his car with a different behavior. “I could see tears in his eyes and he raised his arms to hug him, telling me my podcast had helped him a lot. Now, he’s the typical guy you might read about in the papers and impersonating his life—outgoing, healthy, handsome, a real guy you wouldn’t imagine having an interest in world. Obviously, he felt that no one understood him.”
Obviously O’Keefe did. But how do we create more of these conversations? “What I’ve found that men respond particularly well to is ‘No bull***’,” O’Keefe says. “They want honesty. What they don’t need is a drive by companies that have jumped on the bandwagon because it’s the hot thing to make money from. We need real men who have been touched, talking about real experiences, warts and everything. Instead of saying “I felt really bad,” we need to be honest, “Yeah, I felt like throwing myself off the bridge and never getting up again.”
Speaking from experience. Before he found his target by running, O’Keeffe was driving around his hometown with a feeling of numbness, feeling “agitated, lethargic, depressed, sluggish” so much that he wanted to smash his car into a wall. “I am so grateful that everything that was inside kept me going.”
O’Keefe also believes that a less exciting reason to talk about an increase in male suicide is the uncertainty of the modern world. “The idea of what a man is has changed over the past years,” he says. “Our ancestors knew their place within the family unit and thus within society itself. There is no such mystery [that] We can fit it seamlessly anymore. The landscape had to change, of course – women put their jobs first and have kids later – but we’re still figuring things out. For men, confidence and self-esteem are affected by modern life. This is something we struggle with. As a gender, we are also conditioned from childhood to “man and move on” – so the sooner we start talking to kids [their] Feelings the better. It’s hard to reach a five-year-old at a profound level, but it’s not impossible. It starts from there.”
It’s also one of the reasons why George just published a children’s book on mental health – A Better Day: The Positive Mental Health Handbook It targets readers from the age of nine and over. “Picture of Wembley Stadium full of kids and hit by six people,” he says. “This is the number of children currently waiting to be seen by mental health services in the UK. The problem is getting worse and worse. I have already received a lot of incredible messages from parents and children already. The writing of this book is to help prevent things like what happened with my brother. I want people to live and thrive instead of just surviving. It doesn’t have to be this way.”
“A Better Day: Your Mental Health Handbook” by Dr. Alex George, published by Wren & Rook, is now available in all good bookstores.
If you are experiencing feelings of distress, or are struggling to cope, you can speak to Samaritans, with confidence, at 116123 (UK and ROI), email email@example.com, or visit Samaritans website To find the details of your nearest branch.
If you are a resident of the USA, and you or someone you know is currently in need of mental health assistance, call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). This is a free and confidential crisis hotline available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If you are in another country, you can go to www.befrienders.org To find a helpline near you.