It's ok to ask for help 

To mark International Men's Day this week, three of our people take a moment to talk openly about mental health and the importance of looking after ourselves and each other.

In our first blog, Tom Brockwell, Client Services Administrator for Mourant Governance Services in Jersey, tackles the sensitive subject of suicide, the importance of talking to each other and how exercise has both physical and mental health benefits.

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17 November 2020

I was really pleased when I was asked to write this blog in the week running up to International Men's Day. However it strikes me that it shouldn't take one particular day to place the spotlight on men's health and wellbeing.

The biggest killer of men under the age of 40 is suicide and in England and Wales alone, last year an estimated 4,303 men took their own life.

This is a shocking number that works out on average at.

  • • 359 per month
  • • 83 per week
  • • 12 per day
  • • one man every two hours.

Suicide is a difficult subject to talk about, but with the increased pressure many of us are feeling, we need to remove the stigma around the term mental health and support people, in particular men, who may suffer in silence until it's too late.

This year, as a result of the pandemic, it's documented that people's mental health is potentially suffering more due to periods of isolation, lockdowns, potential job losses and the changes to life as we once knew it. This means that now, more than ever before, it's important to address the growing issue, remove the fear of talking openly about mental health and educate ourselves and others on what we can do differently to help ourselves and the people around us.

"It's okay not to be okay" is a phrase that we hear many times, but it's an important message that I would like to be the key take away from this blog. We need to stop pretending that we're okay all of the time. I was unsure whether to talk about anything personal in this blog, but I guess that's the point of it.

Just over two years ago, I hit a low point in my life and let things pile up until it all got too much. I always felt too proud to talk to anyone about what I was going through, and this just made things worse. It wasn’t until one day it all just got too much. Thankfully I opened up to the people closest to me, because I realised 'it was okay not to be okay'. Talking to someone about my problems changed everything for me and it's what ultimately led to my change in career and working at Mourant.

The second message that I'd like to touch on, is the relationship between exercise and mental health. I'm a huge advocate of keeping active - it not only has physical benefits, but studies have shown that doing exercise, such as a 15-20 minute walk, can help reduce anxiety, depression, and negative mood, plus help improve self-esteem and cognitive function.

Before working in finance, I worked as a personal trainer and I continue to do so part-time, taking classes at the local gym BoxinBusiness. Knowing the physical and mental benefits of exercise, it gives me great pride in the positive effect that coming to one my classes could be having on someone's day.

So I encourage everyone to talk openly about their problems or how they are feeling. Don't be too proud to say you're struggling and always invest time in yourself - do something active each day, even if it's something as simple as going for a short walk. The mental and physical benefits are definitely worth it.