Suffolk

'Man Up' event in Ipswich urges men to talk about mental health

Men raising their hands to say having a mental health issue is OK Image copyright Dan Somers
Image caption Men raised their hands to say "having mental health issues is OK"

More than 150 men came together to put their hands in the air to encourage each other to speak up about mental health issues.

Man Up in Ipswich was organised by a business in the town to "reach out to males who may be suffering in silence".

It was attended by men who have either been personally affected by a mental health condition or seen first-hand the consequences of not talking about one.

Participant Mark Blackburn said it was "about time we stopped holding it in".

"We need to stop letting society dictate how we should be...and speak out," Mr Blackburn said.

Image copyright Adam O'Connor
Image caption Adam O'Connor said talking about mental health can "save lives"

The event, at Copleston High School, got the men to raise their hands for a photo to say "having mental health issues is OK".

Organiser Dan Somers said he wanted to set up the event after reading that suicide was the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45.

Patrick Davey, 27, from Ipswich, who has struggled with depression since the age of 17, said it was a "great initiative to get people talking" - but "talking isn't enough".

'It saves lives'

"We need the support services available so if people feel if talking is the first point then I can go get help for whatever condition they are suffering from," he added.

Adam O'Connor, who lives near Felixstowe, said he went through a number of life stressors, including his father's death, which led to depression and anxiety.

He said: "I've always been quite open about it but my dad, he'd hide it and he kept it all in.

"I'm really quite passionate about it and getting it out there because it saves lives."

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