IT’S NOT WEAK TO SPEAK

International Men’s Day is a time to raise awareness of men’s health and wellbeing. It also falls in the month of November when people are observing Movember, a time that shines a spotlight on men’s health and promotes positive conversations. 

Area Delivery Manager and Mental Health First Aider, Jason Watkin shares his experience of mental health and has been talking to the business about why it’s not weak to speak.

“Having spent the majority of my life believing I wasn’t good enough, I always felt that something was missing. This led to a place where I was suffering from very poor mental health and I became a high functioning alcoholic. 

“In February 2012, something changed for me and it was my turn to stop drinking. I was drinking in excess of 200 units a week, and this time it felt different. I had internally removed the stigma I was feeding myself about it being a weakness to ask for help. I dealt with the drinking and then two years later asked for help again from a charity close to my heart which I now support – Veterans at Ease.

“Veterans at Ease is a free to use service, committed to helping veterans, reservists, serving military personnel and their families deal with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other combat stress-related issues. I completed a series of six therapy sessions and my life changed tremendously and for the better, the big change for me was the relationship I had with myself – I’ve learned to like myself again, which I am proud of.

“Liking and enjoying what I do and how I do this has empowered me to be good to myself, stop the negative vibes I was feeding myself and drop the very unrealistic expectations that I was setting myself. I have learned that our own expectations we set ourselves as human beings, and definitely men, are often never met but we daily exceed those that others have of us, and sadly we make ourselves blind to that.

“Expecting too much from yourself can cause disappointment, anxiety and depression. Stop expecting too much from yourself; having sensible and healthy expectations of yourself are important for a healthy self-esteem and an enjoyable life. Be kind to yourself because you are worth it.

 

IT’S NOT WEAK TO SPEAK

“For years there has long been a stigma surrounding men talking about their feelings and reaching out for help. Maybe this is one of the reasons that the number of suicides is higher among men than women.

“Talking about feelings is not a sign of weakness, anyone can cry, anyone can seek help or support where it’s needed. Stress, anxiety, depression and generally feeling down can happen to anyone.

“By talking, you’ve taken the hardest and bravest step and having the right support network and people around you is important.

 

TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF

“Taking time to take care of yourself is key and there are some simple you can do to take action to improve your mental and physical health. Whether that’s going for a walk to clear your mind, a daily routine that helps you stay in a good rhythm, going to the gym, clocking eight hours of sleep, making time for family and friends, or eating healthily because you care about your wellbeing. Above all, it’s taking time to focus on yourself. 

DON’T IGNORE YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

“Good mental health and wellbeing are so important and as a mental health first aider, I’m always here for any member of our team if they would like a brew and a chat. Landmarc also offers an Employee Assistance Programme and a whole range of mental health and wellbeing resources in its Learning Centre and employee communications app, Landmarc Connect.

 

TEAM EMOTIVE’S MISSION ACROSS THE ATLANTIC

“Next month I will be participating in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge with Team Emotive, which comprises three other Armed Forces veterans. We’ve entered the world’s most difficult ocean rowing challenge in a bid to raise vital funds for the charity Veterans at Ease and to show the world that you can come from a place of poor mental health including depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, PTSD and addiction, and still do things that are truly amazing.

“The journey will be intense and it will take around 40 days of continual rowing to do the three million plus oar strokes required to travel 3,000 miles from the Canary Islands to Antigua unaided.

“Rowing two hours on and two hours off and burning 8,000 calories a day for the duration we anticipate will be brutal, exhilarating, and life changing.

“Landmarc has been fantastic throughout the preparations to date, not only through sponsorship but also in pledging help in any way it can to get us to the start line. I believe my passion for mental health support and the Veterans at Ease charity is reflected throughout Landmarc.”

If you would like to support Team Emotive in its epic journey across the Atlantic, you can make a donation to their fundraising page here. 

Happy International Men’s Day and remember it’s not weak to speak!