Event will highlight the importance of men’s mental health

Gabriel Abotsie, men's wellbeing nursing lead at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.

Gabriel Abotsie, men's wellbeing nursing lead at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. - Credit: Archant

Patients, carers, relatives, supporters and partners are being invited to find out more about the challenges of engaging men in mental healthcare during a special event exploring what it means to be a man in 2018.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) and Wellbeing Norfolk and Waveney will host the men's mental health and wellbeing evening at the The Forum in Norwich on Wednesday, June 13.

Open to anyone with an interest in men's mental health, it will feature experts such as Dr Roger Kingerlee, NSFT clinical psychologist, speaking about behavioural characteristics.

It will also bring together a range of inspirational speakers with personal experience of mental ill health, including Luke Woodley, founder of The Walnut Tree Project who suffered with PTSD.

Alex Ocampo, peer support worker with Wellbeing Norfolk and Waveney, will also tell his story.

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He said: 'Men should not feel ashamed about asking for help when it comes to mental health difficulties. Asking for help is a sign of courage, not a sign of weakness.

'Hearing stories of recovery can give people hope that things can get better and you can go on to live a meaningful and satisfying life beyond mental health difficulties.'

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There will also be a short performance by the Men's Craft Theatre Group, while representatives from local organisations will also be on hand to talk about the support they can provide.

The event has been organised as part of NSFT's ongoing men's wellbeing project.

The initiative, which was introduced in response to national statistics which show males are three times more likely to take their lives than women, encourages men to talk more openly about their emotions while promoting education and social inclusion.

Gabriel Abotsie, men's wellbeing nursing lead with NSFT, said: 'We have organised this special event as part of our ongoing drive to improve men's access to mental healthcare, challenge stereotypes and encourage men to ask for help when they need it.

'We have invited a range of inspirational speakers to come along and talk about their own experiences, while a variety of different partner organisations will also be on hand to talk about their work and the range of support they offer.'

Andy Mack, locality manager for Wellbeing Norfolk and Suffolk, said: 'This special event is open to anyone with an interest in men's mental health, including service users, carers, relatives, supporters, partners and mental health staff.

'We hope that as many people as possible will come along and get talking about mental health so that we can continue to reduce stigma while encouraging more men to develop strategies to help them cope during times of distress.'

The free event runs between 5pm and 8pm. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. To book your place, visit https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/V5QRB5C

For more information about NSFT's men's wellbeing project, visit www.nsft.uk/menswellbeingproject

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