Type in ‘men’s health’ to Google and you’ll find a whole host of stories dedicated to different areas various organisations want to highlight in relation to male self-care. From depression to cancer, you name it – it’s there. That’s because this week marks Men’s Health Awareness – an increasingly important fixture of the world’s calendar.
Whereas men could once have evolution to blame for the unrealistic ideals placed on them to remain stoical in the face of whatever physical or psychological barrier reared its ugly head, times are – thankfully – changing. It may come as no surprise, therefore, that self-care – in every shape or form – is no longer a term solely applied to women. In fact, there are currently over 16 million posts tagged #selfcare on Instagram, and you can bet your bottom dollar that a growing proportion of those have come from male accounts. But there’s still a long way to go.
“I don’t think enough men even consider self-care, let alone practise it”. Kenny Mammarella-D’Cruz – who runs a series of men’s talking groups called MenSpeak – is quoted as saying in a Huff Post article.
Image by m storm from Pixabay
Is it any wonder, then, that men in the UK are three times more likely to commit suicide than women? Other worrying figures come from the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, estimating that eight million men in the UK feel lonely at least once a week, with almost three million reporting it as a daily struggle. Another study conducted by online pharmacy, Chemist4U, found that although a quarter of men say they suffer from a mental health condition, less than a quarter of those will actually seek help. Over half of those blamed stress at work, making the need for self-care employee perks all the more important.Quite clearly, more needs to be done – on a national scale – but there are also smaller everyday changes that can be made, too – starting with just loving yourself a little bit more, something that even former chief nursing officer for England, Professor Jane Cummings, has reportedly stated as “vitally important”.
Of course, physical exercise is paramount to both physiological and psychological wellbeing, and this is one area in which men have always been well-equipped. After all, a session at the gym is hardly going to hinder any ‘macho’ image. However, it’s in the personal grooming arena – so well-loved by women – that men need to feel more comfortable in, too.
Changing the story
Thank goodness, then, for the people setting out to change the story. From the US-based Hims (a male version of Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle brand, Goop – generating more than $1 million in its first week of sales back in 2017), to UK-based male grooming brand, Benjamin Bernard, men are finally receiving a piece of the wellness pie. Add rapper Professor Green, action movie hero, Jason Statham and even Prince William – shaving his head last year, which inadvertently prompted men to talk about their own experiences of male pattern baldness – into the mix, and the picture is changing. Even Gillette – recently changing its tagline from ‘The Best a Man Can Get’ to ‘The Best Men Can Be’ is attempting to change the narrative, illustrating the importance of self-care, one razor at a time.
Another programme supported by Prince William is The Lions Barber Collective – an international group of barbers raising awareness about suicide prevention. Because everyone knows that the real skill exhibited by haircare professionals – behind the scissors and razors – is getting people to talk. In fact, a joint study conducted by The Lions Barber Collective and male grooming brand, The Bluebeards Revenge, found that over half of men living in the UK feel more comfortable discussing mental health issues with their barber than at the doctor’s surgery.
What’s more, the hot-off-the-press State of Man 2019 report by the two organisations, coinciding with Men’s Health Awareness Week, has also found that despite almost half of UK men feeling more stressed than they have done over the last five years, nearly three quarters of those are failing to do anything about it, further compounding the need for change. Furthermore, almost a quarter of those blame physical appearance as the cause of their stress.
“Men’s grooming is essential for your self-esteem and making yourself feel good about yourself”, founder of men’s fashion brand, MrGuild, tells Eunice & May. “Mental health is such a huge subject now and it is great that so much awareness is now bringing this to the forefront of our society today with the tragedies that have happened in recent years.”
“When feeling low, self-care can often be neglected”, Brand Manager at Benjamin Bernard, Lauren Wood, says. “Implementing good grooming habits, such as regular beard cleaning or applying beard oil to improve dry skin, can help men find a moment to prioritise mental and physical well-being.”
Bottom line? Emerging from the barber (or our pop-up-salon, aimed at both men and women alike!) with a well-groomed exterior – responsible for boosting self-esteem, self-worth and – therefore – a healthy dose of self-care – may also go some way in taming your inner flyaways, too. And there’s nothing more important than that!