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Chris Hughes on Breaking the Stigma Regarding Men's Mental Health "talking saves lives"

What does it mean to "be a man" and to "man up"? Many times that means it is not socially acceptable for men to express sensitive emotions and struggles, not to mention to cry. They bottle it up since they are expected to "be strong". But being that kind of "strong" comes with a price, not coping with those emotions doesn't make them any less difficult, it makes them worse.

So men may find different ways to deal with their pain. It could involve harmful coping methods like drinking high levels of alcohol or taking drugs. Many men suffer in silence from a variety of mental health issues including depression, anxiety, and Post-Traumatic Stress. Men's suicide rates are higher than women because they are less likely to seek for help, in fact statistics show that men are nearly four times more likely to die by suicide than women.

British model and TV personality Chris Hughes is speaking up to change the stigma on men's mental health "mental health is defiantly just as important as physical health, if not more important. The suicide rate is forever increasing, and that's something that needs to be changed. It's just important that we do everything we can to break down the stigma regarding men's mental health." Chris explained.

Many men keep quiet when it comes to their mental health due to shame and fear. They experience a conflict between their emotions and what society expects from them. "I suffered in silence (from anxiety and panic attacks) initially and that is the issue within that sort of phrase of suffers and that's where things were tough for me." Chris said.

Chris opened up about his issues regarding his mental health and about the significant improvement he felt after sharing that with others. "I know that speaking with people, seeking for the right advice, helps so much. Just even me initially opening up to my mom when I was around 19 or 20, letting her know that I was suffering from what I didn't really know was anxiety at the time, it felt like such a relief was taken off my shoulders." He said.

Chris is an activist who opened up bravely on interviews to raise awareness, make a change, and save lives. In 2017 Chris teamed up with Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) and Topman to erase the stigma on men's mental health. "talking saves lives", opening up makes a difference. Being brave means to let yourself feel and be with those emotions that make you uncomfortable and causes you pain, you don't have to do that by yourself you can release this pain out of your body by sharing it with others.

How Can You Help Yourself and Others?

  • Language Matters – our words are powerful. Be aware of the phrases you use. Avoid the stigma's terms such as - "man up" "don’t be a pussy" "don't be such a girl".

  • Choose Empowerment Over Shame- many people spend a lifetime on a battle with themselves, don’t be part of that narrative. Choose to empower yourself.

  • Don't Harbour Self-Stigma- you fight the stigma by not having a stigma on yourself.

  • Know You are NOT Alone- Suffering is not the only way. You don't have to carry all this weight on your shoulders. Remember that you are not alone in this, you are not the only one who is struggling. There is a way out of this pain all you have to do it to choose it- talking it out makes a difference.

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