The UK is facing a mental health crisis in the wake of a year of national lockdowns. According to Mind, 60% of adults reported that their mental health had got worse during lockdown.
In particular, the issue of poor mental health in males has been growing for many years. In a ten-year comparative study, Mind discovered that while men were slowly beginning to feel they could seek help, more men were struggling with their mental health in general. In 2019, 43% of men felt worried or low on a regular basis; up 37% compared to 2009. Reports of suicidal thoughts had doubled since 2009 to 10%, but men are now three times more likely to see a therapist than in 2009.
Still, there is work to be done. According to Cover Magazine, only 7% of men prioritise their mental health over their physical health. One way of bringing mental health to the foreground and marking it as a priority is through stronger media coverage – this is where celebrities with far-reaching platforms can use that privilege to make sure mental health issues are not only heard but openly talked about.
Skip Hire UK recognises the need for mental health support, particularly among workers in the construction industry, where talking football or rugby is more likely than a good heart to heart. As well as doing a number of charity events throughout the year, the Reconomy Group currently runs a social value programme, implementing a host of designated mental health first aiders throughout the business, helping ex-offenders into work within the supply chain, and supporting kids who’ve recently just come out of care,
Here, the waste clearance specialists clear the air on mental health support by looking at the top three British celebrities who are championing mental health awareness.
As president of Mind, it’s not surprising to see beloved British icon Stephen Fry on our list. Fry has been very open over the years in regard to his diagnosis with bipolar disorder, and, perhaps most importantly, he has been refreshingly frank about it.
Though Fry is a champion of positive outlooks when it comes to mental health, there’s no sugar-coating or falsehoods in his approach. The reality of mental health is keenly balanced with the reassurance that it does get better.
“I’m not going to kid myself that it’s cured, because it isn’t,” he told the Independent. In a later discussion regarding lockdown, Fry told Travel Gay that he had to “learn to forgive myself for days that aren’t good”.
In perhaps one of the most horrifically public cases of bereavement, Prince Harry has only recently begun to share his experiences with trauma and grief following the death of his mother 24 years ago. Despite the prince being held firmly under the spotlight from a young age, the pain and struggle of his bereavement would not come to light in earnest until his adult years.
“I can safely say that losing my mum at the age of 12, and therefore shutting down all of my emotions for the last 20 years, has had a quite serious effect on not only my personal life but my work as well,” the prince said in a podcast interview. Like many men, Prince Harry buried his mental health struggles beneath a façade of partying, drinking, and other recreational drug use.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, men are almost three times more likely to depend on alcohol as a coping mechanism. Unlike most men, however, Prince Harry’s partying years were heavily broadcast by the media, compounding his difficulties.
Now, together with his brother, Prince Harry leads a number of mental health initiatives, including Heads Together. This campaign supports projects designed to encourage people to talk about their mental health.
TV presenter Chris Packham has been multi-tasking of late! As well as being a staunch defender of the natural world, Packham also works to raise awareness of autism and mental health issues. Having lived his childhood and teenage years with undiagnosed Asperger’s Syndrome (which is now diagnosed under the umbrella term of Autistic Spectrum Disorder), Packham’s latest documentary reveals the sense of isolation he struggled with, as well as the depression that followed.
“I want to have conversations about that sort of thing to get people thinking so that they better understand it and can offer help to those people that are bound to be in the same position that I was in,” Packham explains. Though his work has mainly been to raise awareness of teenage mental health issues, by stepping out and openly discussing his past and showing how he has managed to find a path out of those dark tunnels, Packham is leading by example and opening the discussion on male mental health.
Support is all around us, even for those who would not normally seek it out. These celebrity Brits shine a light on that support, acknowledging their own struggles and that help is never far away.