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Special event shines a spotlight on men's mental health
09/10/2017

World Mental Health Day – 10 October

Service users, carers, relatives, supporters and partners are being invited to find out more about safeguarding men’s emotional health during a special event taking place on World Mental Health Day.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) will host a Men’s Mental Health Awareness Event on Tuesday 10 October. Open to anyone with experience of mental ill health, their carers and supporters and staff working in mental health and partner organisations, it will give people the chance to discuss emotional wellbeing

The event, which takes place in King’s Lynn, will also bring together a range of inspirational speakers with personal experience of mental ill health, including Luke Woodley, an army veteran and founder of The Walnut Tree Project who suffered with PTSD.

Gabriel Abotsie, Men’s Wellbeing Nursing Lead with NSFT, and Andy Wood, from Men’s Shed, will also give presentations.

The event has been organised as part of a range of new initiatives driven by NSFT to help men protect their mental health, called the Men’s Wellbeing Project.

The project’s aim is to encourage men to talk more openly about their emotions, improve their access to mental health services and promote education and social inclusion.

It was introduced in response to national statistics which show males are three times more likely to take their lives than women, particular those in the 45 to 59 age group.

More locally, statistics from Public Health Norfolk show there are an average of 77 suicides each year, 76% of which are males with an average age of 49.

“Many men can find it difficult to ask for psychological help, which is why we have been carrying out so much work to raise awareness of the importance of talking openly when you are facing difficulties,” said Gabriel.

“This special event is part of that work, and is open to anyone who has had mental health difficulties, along with their carers, families and friends. We have invited a range of inspirational speakers to come along and talk about their own experiences, while a variety of different partner organisations will also be holding stalls showcasing the range of support they offer.

“We hope that as many people as possible will come along and get talking about mental health so that we can continue to reduce stigma while encouraging more men to develop strategies to help them cope during times of distress.”

Steve Clark, chair of Moving Forward, NSFT’s service user forum in West Norfolk, said: “Moving Forward wanted to support World Mental Health Day and have a focus rather than just a presence. It appeared valuable to highlight the Trust’s research project into suicide rates for men. Men are less likely to seek help during a mental health episode so the focus may encourage them to ask for help from the services.”

The event takes place between 5.30pm and 7.30pm at Chatterton House in Goodwin’s Road, King’s Lynn. To book a place, please call 01553 613077.

For more information about NSFT’s Men’s Wellbeing Project, visit www.nsft.uk/menswellbeingproject

To find out more about World Mental Health Day, visit https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/world-mental-health-day

For press enquiries, email: nsft.communications@nsft.nhs.uk