“Being depressed is nothing to be ashamed of. Sometimes the greatest courage a man can show is to admit that he needs help. Talking about problems is a sign of strength, not of weakness,” says 29-year-old, Daryl Brown, from the Cape West Coast.
Whilst living in London in 2013, Brown was overwhelmed by the depression that had been haunting him since childhood and decided to end his life. He jumped in front of a train and survived, but had to have both legs amputated.
“When I saw that this year’s Movember campaign was focusing on mental health, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. It is so important that men should realise that they do not have to struggle alone. We are not very good at sharing the stories of our struggles. As men, we feel that we have to deal with everything ourselves, and the consequences of going it alone can be devastating,” Brown says.
According to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), there are 23 suicides a day recorded and 230 serious attempts in South Africa.
Globally, the rate of suicide is also alarmingly high, particularly in men. 510 000 men die from suicide worldwide each year. That's one every minute.
“Because so many men feel that admitting that they are struggling is a sign of weakness, many mental health problems are not being dealt with. Depression affects physical as well as mental wellbeing,” says Garron Gsell, chief executive and founder of the Men’s Foundation, which drives Movember in South Africa.
According to research by The Movember Foundation, a devastating number of men feel friendless. A 2015 British survey found that 51% of respondents - the equivalent of about two and a half million men - have no close friends.
Being married or middle-aged significantly increases the likelihood that men have no one (apart from their partner, if they are married) they feel they can turn to in a crisis.
"Men don’t often strike up new friendships. Women have no problem with meeting friends and starting up a conversation, but for men, it is not so easy to open up and talk,” explains Gsell. “Our fathers, partners, brothers and friends are facing this health crisis and it’s not being talked about. We can’t afford to stay silent. We need to talk about it. We need to act.”
Funds raised from the 2016 Movember campaign will go towards awareness, education, and programmes presented by SADAG, as well as the Prostate Cancer Association of South Africa.
You can make a donation to The Movember Foundation here
For more information, visit www.movember.com
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