The Counselling Shed
In the waiting room of my GP surgery this week statistics about male suicide were displayed on the public information board. Although I have read these statistics many times before, I am always shocked when I see them.
In the UK, suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50.
How can this be?
Some years ago, before I trained as a counsellor, I can remember someone recommending counselling to a friend of mine. My friend had been struggling for sometime with low mood and with general dissatisfaction with their life. And I can remember his reply – “Oh no, I am not going down that route”.
Whilst there is a lot more talk about mental health in the media these days, there is still a lot of stigma and perhaps fear, particularly for men, of opening up.
As the words, quoted elsewhere on this website says:
‘Men live under the pressure of one unrelenting message: Do not be perceived as weak.’
I believe this is one of the main factors that deters men from seeking counselling support: fear that they might be perceived as weak and/or fear that they might be perceived as having failed for not having been able to cope, or for not having been able to work things out for themselves or for not being strong enough, or successful enough or whatever else enough.
Taking the first step of seeking counselling support is a massive deal and clients that contact me have my full undertaking in this area. Yet feedback from my clients is that they find counselling with me to be far less intimidating or scary than they thought it would be.
One of the principle aims of the counselling that I offer is to create a place where clients do not feel shamed, or judged and I respect the right of my clients to share as little or as much as they feel comfortable with.
You never know what is going on for people. We see so many images these days of people appearing to be happy, successful and confident and if you don’t feel like this – and let’s be honest, we all have times of feeling low, lost, not good enough, inadequate, confused etc. – then, particularly for men, we tend to ignore and bury such feelings or we distract ourselves from such feelings.
Over a lifetime the strategies or ignoring and distracting never end well because these buried feelings build up – that’s when we face things like persistent low mood, depression, anxiety or any other manner of symptoms.
If you are struggling, but like my friend think “I’m not going down that route” then maybe take a few moments to be curious about what might be behind that thought for you. Might it be some kind of fear? Fear of opening up. Fear of appearing weak. Fear of being judged.
As I say, taking that first step is a massive deal and if you are feeling nervous then you have my full understanding and support.
If you live in the Faversham, Whitstable, Sittingbourne or Canterbury areas and are thinking of having counselling, or counselling online, then don’t continue to struggle on your own. Reach out and get the support that you need. I look forward to hearing from you.
Please click here for my contact details.