By David Saunders | UPDATED: 05:28, 20 January 2020
Monday 20th January, or Blue Monday, has long been dubbed the “most depressing day of the year”.
On ‘Blue Monday’, as with every other day of the year, Movember is encouraging you to look out for the signs a man in your life could be struggling with their mental health.
The culmination of dismal January weather, crippling debt following Christmas and time since the last pre-holiday pay cheque, along with the emotional drain of the festive period and the realisation New Year’s resolutions haven’t come to fruition, is said to leave our motivation at an all-time low on the 20th.
But Blue Monday acts as a stark reminder to check in with a mate and take stock of your own mental well-being.
For those going through tough times, any day can be a struggle – and those feelings can be brought on by nothing in particular.
Chances are, one of the men close to you isn’t feeling their best right now. The signs can be subtle: a friend who’s not sleeping, a colleague who’s lost interest or simply a man in your family who’s more irritable than normal.
But spotting these subtle indicators can make all the difference – in fact, it could be lifesaving.
Movember’s eye-opening Spot The Signs video is designed to raise awareness of the signs someone may be struggling with their mental health.
It’s not uncommon for men to keep quiet when they’re struggling. According to research from Movember, almost half of 18-34-year-old men in the UK are reluctant to talk about their problems or feelings for fear of being seen as less masculine.
A report from the men’s health charity also found around 30 per cent of men would be reluctant to open up about their mental health problems in case it had a negative impact on their career, while some 51 per cent of blokes felt they couldn’t take time off work for personal or mental health issues.
It’s not always easy to spot a bro who’s feeling low, which is why Movember wants to give men the tools they need to identify the signs and reach out to a mate. If a friend hasn’t seemed himself lately, it might be an indication he’s struggling.
The best way to look after a mate you think could be feeling low is to use the ALEC principle: Ask, Listen, Encourage Action, Check-in.
It’s also important to look after your own mental health. Most men say they’d be there for a mate in need, but most also say they feel uncomfortable reaching out to friends for help themselves.
Something’s got to change. If you can’t seem to shift feeling “not so great”, or you’re feeling overwhelmed about life, take action.
Speak to someone you trust, take part in some sort of exercise or enjoy some downtime with a friend. And if you’ve tried some of these things and still feel bad, talk to a professional for advice and support.
Paul Mitcheson, Movember’s Global Director for Cause and Brand, said: “We want men to spot the signs a mate is struggling. If you notice someone acting differently, they might be going through tough times.
“Don’t worry, you won’t make things worse by asking how he’s doing, but you could well make things much better or even save his life. Three out of four suicides in the UK are men, and learning to spot a bro who’s feeling low can make all the difference.”
Check out Movember’s guide to spotting the signs: www.movember.com/signs