The UK’s first mental health centre just for men has opened.
The site has been set up by Alex Eaton, whose dad took his own life and has suffered with mental health problems himself, in Burton upon Trent, reports BBC Newsbeat.
Mr Eaton said: “We are the only one in the country and we are really proud of that. I think it [male mental health] is a huge problem. It’s like society puts on you as a man that you have to be strong. You have to fight through your problems. You can’t be seen to be weak. When you have got mental health problems it’s not that easy. When it seems you haven’t got anybody to talk to… the problem obviously gets worse and worse. Negative things can come from it. My dad suffered from mental health problems, depression and addiction. When he left my stepmum his life spun out of control. He turned to drugs and drink. He went on a binge and unfortunately took his life. It hit me really hard. I suffered with depression for about a year and I had to leave my previous employment. I didn’t want it to beat me, even though at the time it looked like it was beating me. I’m too stubborn for that. One night me and my wife were just sitting and chatting and I thought what about if we started our own operation in the town to help people. So we bashed around some ideas around and then my wife jumped on the laptop and started making a website and from there it has just taken off. We’ve had a lot of funding local and national – like the lottery. They can see that our model is actually working.”
Stephen Buckley from the mental health charity Mind says it’s a big problem.
“We lose 6,000 people a year to suicide a year in the UK and every one is a tragedy. The number of men who take their own lives is of particular concern. Suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45 and, overall, men account for three-quarters of all suicides. Men talk less about their problems than women do, and instead might watch TV, play sport, or drink as a way of coping.”
Jane Powell told Newsbeat that she was shocked that it’s the first of a kind. I think the idea is inspired and totally obvious and it’s amazing that it’s not been done before. Seventy-eight per cent of suicides in the UK are male. To think about them in a holistic way in one place is a great idea. Well women clinics have been going a long time and it’s an invitation for women to get services. This is an invitation for guys and I do hope it’s the start of many hundreds [around the country].”
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