November marks the month where men’s well being becomes the focus of charity campaigns.
Henry Whitaker and Olly Wood
With three out of four suicides in the UK being men and one in four people experiencing mental health issues in their life, the call for action is as loud as ever.
The Gym Leeds have partnered with Movember to help increase awareness and to raise money to combat the issues with men’s health.
Personal trainer at The Gym Leeds, Cath Halstead has got behind the initiative and believes mental health is something that needs to be spoken about more often.
“Maybe men feel that they can’t talk to anyone about their feelings, as that’s what ‘men do’ but they should talk about how they feel just as much as women do.
“Talking helps to recover and change. Men need to know that it’s OK to ask for help from anyone.”
Mental health has so often been seen as a taboo subject and although the stigma around it is improving, Cath believes more can be done.
“There needs to be more word of mouth and less judgement. There should be more freedom for men to show their emotions.”
A study by NHS England found being more active improves mental health. Its been shown to help people with mild depression and protect against anxiety.
The NHS advises that “adults aged 19 and over should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as fast walking or cycling, a week.”
Cath also believes that mental well being is drastically improved by fitness and exercise as they release “endorphins which make us feel good.
“I’ve never seen fitness have a negative impact on anyone, it improves your mentality 100 per cent.”
A range of fundraising activities will be taking place this month, including a danceathon and ‘train the trainer’ where members can reverse the roles and put the experts through their paces.
On the 14 November, The Gym Leeds are encouraging everyone to get involved in a ‘Move for November’ day.
Non members can pay two pounds to join in on the fun with all the proceeds going to charity.
Movember first began in 2003 with 30 men in Australia who wanted to bring back the moustache and raise awareness for mens health and prostate cancer.
Now, the charity have campaigns in 21 countries and have raised more than £430m to fund over 1,000 men’s health programs.
There aim by 2030 is to reduce the number of men dying prematurely by 25 per cent as well as reducing the amount of men taking their own lives by the same figure.
In September this year, a new £70,000 funding programme was launched in Leeds to help support men at risk of suicide.
Community projects are to receive up to £25,000 grants to reduce isolation for men and to provide outreach work in areas where suicide risk is higher.
Speaking to Leeds.gov.uk Cllr Rachael Charlwood said: “This new programme demonstrates our commitment to help tackle this important issue in Leeds.
“It focusses on improving the health of communities that need it most. It’s really good that we’ll be using best practice and innovative ideas to help reduce the number of suicides and attempted suicides in the city.”
Movember is not only looking to tackle the issues of mental health but also cancer, specifically prostate and testicular which has risen to become the most common cancers in men in the UK.
The thrust of the Movember campaign is to show men they’re not alone as they try to reduce the stigma around mental health and more generally speaking mens wellbeing.
For more information about what The Gym Leeds are doing check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thegymgroupleeds/