Will Poulter: ‘Within the Male Community, Mental Health is Especially Stigmatised’

Actor, Will Poulter has said that he believes the topic of mental ill health is ‘especially stigmatising for men,’ adding that you cannot always tell who is struggling.

Having been diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder, depression, and OCD at school, the 30-year-old Marvel actor has teamed up with Movember to help raise awareness for issues such as testicular cancer, prostate cancer, mental health and suicide prevention.

Speaking to the PA news agency, Poulter said: ‘I think within the male community, the subject of mental health is especially stigmatised, three out of four suicides in the UK now involve men.’

According to the Office for National Statistics, in 2021:

  • There were 5,583 suicides registered in England and Wales

  • Around three-quarters (74%) of suicides were male (4,129).

  • That’s the equivalent to 16 deaths per 100,000.

Talk More, Assume Less

Opening up about his own experiences with mental health and how he managed, he said: 'I’ve found, certainly, that having the opportunity to talk in a kind of no-holds barred fashion, and not to feel the kind of brunt of the stigma has been really beneficial.

‘I try and encourage the conversation around mental health as regularly as I can. I try also not to make any assumptions that just because someone appears one way, they might not be dealing with something internally or that behind closed doors, they might be struggling, or not struggling, despite what they kind of demonstrate socially.’

Despite the numerous campaigns and safe places for men to speak up, talking about mental health is still a taboo subject for many. According to mentalhealth.org, ‘Men are less likely to access psychological therapies than women, and that only 36% of referrals to NHS talking therapies are for men.’ It’s also thought that men may be more likely to use potentially harmful coping methods such as drugs or alcohol and less likely to talk to family or friends about their mental health.

If you’re worried about your mental health, try making some simple changes. Talk about your feelings, keep active and eat well. These small tweaks can help you feel better.

There’s also a lot of information online that gives advice on staying well – mentalhealth.org has created a ‘best mental health tips – backed by research’, while charities such as Mind provide complete guides to mental health conditions, treatments and outlets for you to get in touch with.

Alternatively, if you feel like you need to speak to someone straight away, the Samaritans are available 24 hours a day.

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