I had the pleasure of interviewing Darren about his experience of men's mental health. Read on to learn how mental health challenges and being a man has impacted Darren and what he does now to support his wellbeing.
1. What comes to my mind when you read the term 'Mental Health'?
That's a difficult one to answer because everyone has a different journey with their mental health.
Although with everything that is happening right now, I just tend to focus on what I can do.
With mental health we are advise not to think too much of what might happen in the future.
However after recent 2-years with the covid lockdown restrictions, I have to be honest, I never seen so much perplexity happening all at once.
For example, I have noticed that the majority of peoples problems are mostly related to what is being reported in the News/TV or from the choices politicians are setting out that is impacting people's stress.
This ranges from the following listed below.
The covid lockdown restrictions
Tackling climate change - Net Zero Agenda
The NHS Backlog.
Mental Health crisis.
Wokeism - Cancel Culture
A rise in domestic violence cases.
Homelessness - Housing crisis
Now a cost of High Inflation living crisis - Being told by the news what people can eat.
Mental Health services is underfunded, throughout the UK and having access to mental health services depends on area postcodes.
In my personal opinion, funding for mental health Servies has to be reviewed.
To help improve mental health services.
There is a lot of work to do to help improve mental health services.
It is important that more needs be done to hear from and recruit people like myself who has actual mental health lived experience.
2.How has your own mental health impacted your life?
For myself personally, I was diagnose with Major Depression Disorder in 2016
I now manage to control my stress levels by talking with people who have had similar experiences to myself and having the opportunity to share my personal journey with Hillingdon Mind in which I now help to volunteer.
If I do have a stressful day, I always tend to focus on doing something practical.
3. Has being male impacted your mental health and, if so, how has it
With Hillingdon Mind, I think that I am the most outspoken male, when people do hear about my journey with mental health it is a lot for people to take in.
However, my aim now is to focus on my wellbeing and to have a career in mental health so that I can help people and more so for anyone who has had similar experiences to myself.
I do agree that more investment in mental health needs to be done to reach out to everyone.
It's also important for other UK charities in other areas to speak out as well.
However in regards to males seeking support, the average age for males who commit suicide is aged between 30 - 40 years old.
4.What do you do now to take care of your mental wellbeing?
To take care of myself, I look after myself by eating a balanced diet, going out for walks/exercise, talking with family, attending and volunteering with the Hillingdon Mind Support Groups, focusing on my hobbies that I enjoy.
I Intend to focus on things that I can control.
I always pay attention to see what is happening in the news at least once a week, so that I am aware of what is happening and any news topics that is related to mental health.