Let's Talk: Men's Mental Health Event

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On August 22nd, we held our first ever Let’s Talk event in our offices in Manchester, specifically dedicated to the discussion on Men’s Mental Health. With a great turnout, we had a number of guest speakers talk about their experiences with mental health and how they’re doing their bit to raise awareness, along with giving some advice in how to deal with mental health in yourself and the ones you love.

The event kicked off with an exercise, as people split off into smaller groups and were given a simple question: Why do you think there is a difference in mental health symptoms between men and women? Why do you think suicide is here amongst men?

Conversation was active amongst the groups, with the speakers getting involved in the discussion with those attending. It was an exercise designed to show how varied the reasons might be for suicide, with everyone’s answers displayed on a wall nearby. Still, the groups did manage to make a mess of the seating arrangements that the lovely folks at WeWork arranged for the event.

After the exercise, we all sat back down to listen to our guest speakers give their presentations. First up was Muz Choudhury, a firefighter based in Manchester who has struggled with fear and anxiety since he was a child, who spoke about his experiences with being a co-dependent in terms of his mental health. He also gave some surprising insight into how mental health is dealt with in his professional and personal life. He also swears a lot when he’s anxious, so forgive him for that.

Lee Noble, a marketing manager extraordinaire, took to the stage to talk about his experience with mental health and suicide with his best friend Andy through the use of numbers. It’s an eye-opening talk, where Lee calls upon an end to the one way communication that’s prevalent in the mental health conversation. If you know someone who is struggling, be the one to reach out to them, and do the research so you can better help.

Dan McNicholas from 4 & 20 Million spoke about how mental health and stress can affect workflow. We’ve all had our struggles with stress when it comes to work, and this talk offers some great advice about how you can manage those stresses, increase your productivity and ultimately live a better life.

Briony Gunson, a digital marketing consultant based in Manchester who has also trained as a meditation teacher, talked about her personal journey with meditation, and how it’s helped her to overcome both physical and mental hurdles. She also led the room in a meditation exercise to demonstrate how it could help you too.

Jon Salmon, mental health campaigner for Heads Together and Best Beginnings, spoke about his experiences with losing a family member to suicide, and how it affected him personally. He also spoke about how his mental health campaigning led to him running a relay race with Paula Radcliffe and the Royal Family, and he urges to everyone to get involved in the mental health conversation.

Finally, ASSIF's founder Omar gave a brief talk about his mental health journey, before giving the attendees more information about ASSIF's mission statement and what we hope to accomplish in the coming months and years.

If you’re interested in getting involved with something like this, we will be holding another Let’s Talk event on September 26th based around Postnatal Depression. We’ll be releasing more details over the coming weeks