There is a very welcome movement towards broadening awareness of men’s mental health. What I particularly welcome is that this current movement is not coming from the field of psychotherapy. Men from tough sports like rugby league are openly acknowledging that they have been through difficult times, live with deep anxiety and have questioned their reason to continue living.
Because this movement to be more open about what is really going on, particularly for men, is coming from young sportsmen it is more likely to be listened to by a wider group of men. What is being acknowledged is that men are not more prone to mental health issues but they are not as good at dealing with it as they are more likely to avoid talking about their feelings and to self-medicate or use risky behaviour to cope.
Stevie Ward (Leeds Rhinos and in the current England squad) went through a cycle of elation with his sporting success and then depression when injured that led him to launch an online magazine called Mantality that aims to be honest about the reality behind the glamour and celebrity of being a professional sportman. When he started to talk about these issues he was contacted by dozens of other rugby professionals that had experienced similar difficulties.
The Lad’s Bible is another site that is devoting attention to mental health with their U OK M8 initiative.