Sunderland men are silent sufferers of depression

Gary Cameron, director of Military Mental Health.

Gary Cameron, director of Military Mental Health.

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A WEARSIDE mental health group has launched a new project to help men battling depression.

Gary Cameron, from Seaham, has organised the Men’s Shed sessions in a bid to cut social isolation, creating a place where men feel comfortable to talk, seek help or simply get out of the house.

The former soldier, who runs the Sunderland-based Military Mental Health support group, said problems such as redundancy, bereavement, retirement, ill-health, relocation and divorce were increasing anxiety and emotional distress.

“I believe that because men don’t make a fuss about their problems, these problems have consistently been either ignored or swept under the carpet by both our health system and our modern society,” said Mr Cameron.

“It’s time for a change and the Men’s Shed could be one of the most powerful tools we have in helping men to once again become valued and valuable members of our community.”

The sessions, in partnership with the East Durham Trust’s Cree Project, are open to men of all ages and backgrounds, both military and civilian.

They are based on an Australian model, which encourages men to discuss their health-related issues with other men.

“Most men have learned from our culture that they don’t talk about feelings and emotions,” he said. “There has been little encouragement for men to take an interest in their own health and well-being.

“Unlike women, most men are reluctant to talk about their emotions and that means that they usually don’t ask for help.

“Probably because of this, many men are less healthy than women, they drink more, take more risks and they suffer more from isolation, loneliness and depression.

“Good health is based on many factors including feeling good about yourself, being productive and valuable to your community, connecting to friends and maintaining an active body and an active mind.”

For information, email gary@militarymentalhealth.co.uk

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