International Men’s Day: Let’s take care of one another – Dr David Crichton

This Thursday 19 November, it is International Men’s Day which is a global day of observance held every year in more than 60 countries around the world. It invites every man, woman, girl and boy to come together and celebrate men and boys in all their diversity. It is also an opportunity to recognise and raise awareness of various issues which impact men and aims to encourage positive conversations around manhood and masculinity.

In the UK, International Men’s Day takes a gender inclusive approach and believes in ensuring that issues affecting women and girls are also resolved. It also recognises the intersection between gender and other factors such as race and sexuality which can compound the inequalities affecting men and boys.

One of the key themes for the day is to highlight the alarming high male suicide rates we see around the world and I believe it is really important for us all to be more aware of the people around us and to check they are ok. According to recent data, the suicide rate for men in England and Wales in 2019 was the highest it’s ever been for two decades with men accounting for three-quarters of suicide deaths registered in 2019, 4,303 compared with 1,388 women. That statistic alone is a stark reality which says either men don’t open up and talk when they are struggling, or, that the people they open up to don’t know how to listen or what to say.

This week is also Self-Care week and my plea to everyone is to please take 20 minutes and empower yourself with a skill which could save a life. The Zero Suicide Alliance has free online training sessions which will teach you how to talk to someone who is feeling suicidal and help you notice the signs which could signal that someone is thinking of harming themselves. They have also published a special pandemic ‘step up’ module which provides a brief introduction to social isolation, and information on how to help someone who may be isolated and experiencing suicidal thoughts.

Mental health self-care is something we all need to be more mindful of as we come into winter and live with coronavirus restrictions as they limit the physical contact we can have with our support networks. It’s very easy to dismiss your own mental wellbeing and prioritise other things and it’s my message to everyone to please take more care of your mind.

The stress we are all under at this time of year with Christmas on the horizon can be immense. There are many websites, apps and podcasts which are really helpful in rebalancing your mindset and I highly recommend the 5 Ways to Wellbeing that Doncaster Council have updated in line with the pandemic.

One of the biggest things we can all do to improve our wellbeing as the cooler months roll in and seasonal bugs start to spread is to be prepared. With coronavirus in circulation it is actually very sensible to ensure that you have well stocked medicine kit at home including paracetamol. It’s also helpful for you to know where you can access health advice or treatments should you feel unwell during the night so make sure you bookmark our services webpage for the latest information on support available in Doncaster. You can also help prepare and protect your health this winter by having a flu jab.

For more information on Self-Care Week visit https://www.doncasterccg.nhs.uk/the-importance-of-self-care-this-winter/ and for tips on staying well this winter visit www.BeWinterWell.co.uk.

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