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ITV's Loose Men discuss mental health on International Men's Day

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image copyrightITV
image captionLoose Men: (Clockwise left to right) Marvin Humes, Iain Stirling, Ronan Keating and Roman Kemp

The ITV talk show Loose Women rebranded as Loose Men on Thursday, to mark International Men's Day.

The show usually offers female perspectives on topical issues.

However, for one day only, guest anchor Marvin Humes from JLS was joined on the panel by singer and presenter Ronan Keating, radio DJ Roman Kemp and Love Island narrator Iain Stirling.

They discussed mental health, therapy and dating rules; and also interviewed Hollywood star Matthew McConaughey.

Earlier this year, Loose Women launched the Stand By Your Men campaign, focusing on male mental health and encouraging men to ask for help if they are struggling.

"We've had several men join us as honorary Loose Men over the years, but this is the first time we've handed over the entire show to the guys - and it's for a very important reason," said editor Sally Shelford ahead of the show.

She added it was "vital that men talk as openly about their struggles" as the programme's all-female panel usually do, noting that Thursday was "the perfect opportunity" to get that message across.

ITV has broadcast Loose Women on weekday lunchtimes since 1999, with a rotating line-up each day.

Current regular panellists include Stacey Solomon, Brenda Edwards, Kaye Adams, Andrea McLean, Christine Lampard and Jane Moore.

How was Loose Men received?

Harriet Scott, who co-presents Magic Breakfast with Keating, praised her colleague and the rest of the guys for speaking so candidly about the taboo subject of mental health.

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Fellow broadcaster, Bobbi Norris described the show as "refreshing" and said he hoped to see more of the same on the telly in the near future.

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Fitness guru Charlie King was in full agreement.

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'Take a little time for the me'

During the programme, McConaughey, who won the best actor Oscar in 2014 for his role in Dallas Buyer's Club, shared his insights about how looks after his own mental wellbeing.

"The best tool that I have had is being able to know when to take a little time for the me," he said.

"Step away, take a little solitude," he added. "Whether that's an hour a day for exercise, whether that's meditation, whether it's a prayer in church on Sunday, whether it's putting on a backpack and going to a foreign land where you don't speak the language and they don't know your name, whether that's going to a monastery.

"Just a little quiet time when we are stuck with ourselves, even though we may not like the company at that time, is really valuable time."

image copyrightITV
image captionActor Matthew McConaughey opened up to the Loose Men panel about mental health

Keating revealed that he seeks the help of his loved ones and professionals, "whenever I am feeling fragile, if I need to lean on somebody".

"My wife can tell if I am overstressed, working too hard, things are getting on my back," said the former Boyzone star, and current radio presenter on Magic.

"Or maybe it's a certain date that reminds me of something that's happened, someone who has passed away. I talk to my therapist Dan. I will say to [his wife] Storm, 'Do you think it's time to speak to Dan?'"

He continued: "Storm and I can have conversations but me and Dan don't live under the same roof. He gives me tools and I can take those home and maybe be a better person."

Host Humes opened the show by referencing the fact that suicide "remains the most common cause of death for men aged 20-49". "One in three men are victims of domestic abuse and 33 men a day die from prostate cancer," he noted.

Kemp, meanwhile, asserted his belief that conversations around men and their feelings need to start as early as possible. "We need to be teaching boys at school to open up," said the Capital FM presenter. "It's important to learn to defend yourself against your own brain."

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