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Talk Tonight: Mental health is a daily priority for all of us

Talk Tonight - mental health is a daily priority for all of us.

'As soon as you start to open up that's when you're on the way to feel better. Before that, you don't accept what you've got. You don't even know what it is. But as soon as you say 'I'm not well', that's when you say I'm ready to get help and that's when you get better'.

The above quote is from a recent article https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/46003082 . As I said on twitter just after reading - 'a very courageous story which again shows how difficult it can be in society for a young male in this situation to make the crucial step of asking for help. It is everyone’s responsibility to make it easier for everyone to get the help that they need'.

Christian Nade, a professional footballer now in his mid thirties, was eventually able to access the support that he needed. But as the article shows, his story was very close to ending in tragedy, like it does for so many others, and in particular for men, moreover those at the younger end of the adult age range.

'Suicide is the biggest killer of men between 20 and 49, eclipsing road accidents, cancer and coronary heart disease. It is also predominantly a male disorder. Of the 5,981 suicides in 2012, an astonishing 4,590 (76%) were men. And yet while Britain has high-profile campaigns on, say, testicular cancer or driving safely, the biggest killer of men under 50 is not getting the attention it deserves'.

Owen Jones wrote the above quote as part of this article in The Guardian in 2014 (https://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/aug/15/suicide-silence-depressed-men ) and the urgent need for positive action to address the growing problem is now even stronger as current statistics show.
Change is needed in society, at all levels and particularly by local and national government. This is an urgent public health crisis that needs to be addressed.

The responsibility though, goes beyond policy makers. Change can start immediately, and everyone has a role to play. And it can start now.

Following the recent death of a friend, Mick Woodburn at the age of 29, a group of friends from Liverpool decided to organise a concert to raise awareness of this issue, where and how expert help can be found and to raise essential funds for charities to deliver some of the services that are required for people experiencing difficulties with their mental health. The efforts of this team of people and from those who attended in support, and the willingness of acts including The Shipbuilders, Timo Tierney, Kieran Molyneux, Jamie Webster, The Peach Fuzz and Louis Berry meant that in the space of a few short weeks, an idea became reality in the shape of Talk Tonight: A Night in memory of Mick Woodburn and Neil 'Yozza' Hughes (@TalkTonight18) at the O2 Academy in Liverpool. Neil also lost his life due to suicide around two years earlier. Chris Tyrrell, one of the group of friends who thought of the idea and took a lead role in the organisation of it, can be heard talking more about it here: https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/sport/football/talking-mens-mental-health-honouring-15360272

James' Place (@JamesPlaceUK) and Beacon Counselling Trust (@BeaconLiverpool) will now be able to use some of the thousands of pounds raised to deliver some life saving support to people that need it most. And just as importantly, mental health was brought to the forefront of the minds of many people.
Information was provided, awareness raised, conversations started. Before and after the event locally based media organisations including Radio City, The Liverpool Echo and the Anfield Wrap were regularly opening up conversations to hundreds of thousands of people who listen, watch, read and interact with their services.

Whether it is organising an important event or whether it is sharing information, starting and having the conversations or checking in with someone you know, positive action is always possible.
As I said on twitter around the time of #WorldMentalHealthDay2018 :
'There is nothing to be lost by asking a friend, family member or even someone you don’t know well; ‘how are you, do you want to talk about it’? Even if you think there is little or nothing you can do, a chance for someone to think aloud and just be heard could be life changing'.
It is important not to be be fearful of not having the answers. Asking the questions is the most important thing.

Like many others, Mick Woodburn and Neil Hughes were not able to access the help that they needed, but the efforts of their friends and family and the contributions of many others mean that rather than their stories ending in tragedy, their legacy lives on. It is one of positivity, one of hope. It is the message that things need to change, and that things can change. The Talk Tonight movement was an example for all to follow in terms of what is possible. I do not believe it is an exaggeration to say that already, the contribution of all of those involved has saved the lives of numerous people.

It is up to every single person in society to make sure that we all do the best that we can to try to do the same.