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Wellbeing initiatives bring better support for men

​World Suicide Prevention Day – 10 September

Men from across Norfolk are now receiving more help to protect their mental wellbeing thanks to a range of new educational and social initiatives driven by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT).

The Trust has increased its focus on men’s mental health 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.

As a result, NSFT has launched a Men’s Wellbeing Project to encourage men to talk more openly about their emotional health, improve their access to mental health services and promote education and social inclusion.

It is sharing details of the work which has taken place so far in the run up to World Suicide Prevention Day, which takes place annually on 10 September and this year carries the theme “take a minute, change a life”.

It includes:

• Working alongside Public Health Norfolk to form a network of groups with an interest in men’s wellbeing, including YANA (You Are Not Alone), the Samaritans, Active Norfolk, Norwich Mind, The 12th Man Project, Healthwatch, Relate, Wellbeing Norfolk and Wellbeing and Men’s Shed. The network meets regularly to improve collaboration, with the ultimate aim of reducing suicide rates.

• Delivering training on men’s mental health to clinical staff at NSFT and staff in the Students’ Advisory Team at UEA.

• Fielding a touch rugby team to raise awareness of mental health issues among men during The Big Rugby Weekend, which took place in Holt in May.

• Holding a wellbeing event at Holland court in June, which saw Service User Governor Richard Gorrod and former NCFC footballer Cedric Anselin share their experiences of mental ill health.

• Planning mental health workshops at the sports academy at College of West Anglia in Kings Lynn and Dereham Football Academy.

• Organising a new football group to encourage social inclusion, which kicks off in late September.

In addition, staff will hold an event in King’s Lynn to mark World Mental Health Day on 10 October, and are also arranging a special event on 23 November to promote men’s wellbeing and mental health. The day will feature keynote speakers, including Cedric, who has spoken openly of his battle with depression, and 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, said: “Evidence shows us that men of all ages can find it difficult to ask for psychological help.

“We have been carrying out a lot of work already to help address this, and have lots more exciting plans to help us engage with men so that they feel able to ask for help when they need it.

“We hope that by talking openly about mental health, we can continue to reduce stigma while encouraging more men to develop strategies to help them cope during times of distress.”

Anyone who is concerned that someone may be suicidal should encourage them to get help by seeing their GP, therapist or a counsellor or contacting the Samaritans on 116 123.

People can also self-refer to the wellbeing service for additional support by visiting or calling 0300 123 1503 in Norfolk and Waveney or 0300 123 1781 in Suffolk.

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