Putting men into mental health – Somerset marks World Mental Health Day

With around three quarters of the people who take their own lives being male Somerset County Council and the charity Men’s Health Forum are hosting a conference today (08 October) to mark World Mental Health Day this month (10th October).

Somerset is taking a lead nationally to raise awareness about men’s mental health and works with partners to ensure that the right support and services are available.

The Conference will bring together a wide range of stakeholders to discuss the evidence recently compiled by the Men’s Health Forum on how to make mental health services work for men.

The latest Somerset suicide audit report shows that 74% of suicides and undetermined deaths in Somerset during 2010-2012 were male, this reflects the picture in England and Wales (76%).

Nationally three-quarters of the people who take their own lives are men. 73% of adults who go missing from home are men and over 80% of those permanently excluded from school due to behavioural difficulties are boys.

Men who suffer from poor mental health have problems engaging with the health system and gaining social support of friends, relatives and the community, so it is in everyone’s interest to address men’s mental health and promote their wellbeing.

Cllr. Anna Groskop, Somerset County Council, Cabinet Member with responsibility for health, said: “Somerset is a national frontrunner in addressing men’s mental health issues. We host a Men’s Health Interest Group with representatives attending from local government, police, health services, probation services and voluntary sector to discuss ways of improving men’s health and wellbeing.  Men of all ages are seen as a high risk group that need dedicated interventions to help them seek support for mental health issues earlier.

“Men often have mental health needs that are distinct from those of women and which are particularly associated with the lived experience of being male.  Some of these needs are not being met as effectively as they might.

“The conference will bring together around 150 different stakeholders from a range of disciplines including local authorities, health Care, police, probation, third sector and local health related businesses.  They will look at evidence collected by the Men’s Health Forum and start to develop new ways of thinking to promote men’s health.”

Among the speakers of the conference are Jonny Benjamin, mental health campaigner and producer of the movie “The Stranger on The Bridge” and the comedian John Ryan who uses comedy to address men’s mental health issues.

Men’s Health Forum has produced a report called “Promoting mental health and wellbeing with men and boys: what works?” http://www.menshealthforum.org.uk/howto-mh
Notes to Editors:

The conference is called “Putting men into mental health: New ways of working with men in Somerset”  and takes place on Thursday 8 October 2015, 09.45–16.35 at the Haynes’ International Motor Museum, Sparkford, near Yeovil BA22.  (Conference is fully booked.)

World Mental Health Day this year is on 10th October 2015

The Men’s Health Forum is a charity that works to improve men’s health services and the health of men. In the UK still one man in five dies before he reaches 65.  Through Men’s Health Forum advice, research and campaigning it aims to reduce the deaths of men who simply die too young because of preventable health problems.

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For more information, contact the Somerset County Council Press Office on 01823 355020 or email pressoffice@somerset.gov.uk.
Men’s Health Forum: Pieter de Meer: 077 59 801 404
email pieter.de.meer@menshealthforum.org.uk