Men encouraged to speak about mental health

Coronation Street actor Shayne Ward
Coronation Street actor Shayne Ward

Men are being urged to talk about mental health as male-dominated industries struggle to deal with the stigma.

Shockingly, the latest Government figures shows that if you are a man between 20 and 49, you’re more likely to die from suicide than cancer, road accidents or heart disease and deaths men aged between 45 and 59 have also now begun to rise, increasing to their highest levels since 1981.

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Coronation Street has highlighted the important issue of male suicide after Aidan Connor, played by Shayne Ward, took his own life.

But despite a number of high-profile, hard-hitting campaigns, more than half of men still say there is shame attached to discussing mental health at work.

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week which began on Monday, Break the Taboo: has been launched to help people, especially men, if they are struggling to cope.

Coronation Street producer Kate Oates said: “With 84 men taking their lives each week, we quite simply can’t afford to not talk about it. Aidan is an ‘everyman’ figure, he is someone men can identify with, which is important in telling this story.”

“We hope that anyone who recognises something of themselves in Aidan, will realise they can, and really should, talk about how they’re feeling.”

After the episode featuring Aidan’s suicide on Wednesday, many people contacted the actor to thank him for the scenes. Shayne said: “A lot of people who are considering attempting suicide have got in touch to say, ‘I’m calling somebody now. I was attempting it and you’ve helped me.’

“The response has been truly overwhelming.

“When you get given a storyline like this it is a decision that is not taken lightly, I have played it with as much honesty and truth as I could.

In a new survey more than 2,000 van drivers were asked to give their candid views and experiences of mental health issues in the workplace.

Half of those who feel there is a stigma attached to talking openly cite ‘a male-dominated workplace as a key factor and a further 46 per cent said fears over job security and career progression make talking about mental health a taboo at work.

The prevailing taboo affects not just businesses - mental health condition such as work-related stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 15.8 million sick days last year - it can and does have a profound impact on people’s lives.

If you need help, call the Samaritans 01942 492222.