Statistics show that three times as many men as women die by suicide. In England, one in eight men has a common mental health problem such as depression, anxiety, panic disorder or obsessive compulsive disorder.
Local therapist Ann Bowditch decided to write a book about the issue as part of a 2020 lockdown project because it is a subject she feels passionately about.
‘As a therapist, when working with men, they would often start off thinking they were wasting my time or that they were the only person with the experiences they were having,’ she said.
‘They were not feeling validated in their problems, emotions or challenges.
‘Also, their genetic make-up is to be the strong one, the one that keeps everyone safe and solves problems rather than, as they often see it, create them. Of course we are living in a much more modern world but our brains, DNA and physicality have not changed at the same speed as life. There can also sometimes be embarrassment and I wanted to ensure they knew they were doing the right thing in seeking help.’
Her main aim in writing about the subject was to help men gain greater insight into the mental health challenges they face and the unhealthy coping mechanisms they use, as well as encourage them to be kinder to themselves, to seek help when they need it and to develop healthier methods for looking after their wellbeing.
The resulting book, Stresses of Modern Man, launches tomorrow.
‘I felt it was so important to spread the message that men should absolutely seek help when they are struggling,’ she said.
‘Men do still often feel they are the only one experiencing the difficulties they are, which tends to give them a low opinion of themselves.
‘They believe they should cope better. However, I fully believe that knowledge is empowering and my aim is to give them that knowledge base, along with some wellbeing tips and simple techniques to make positive changes.’
Ann has included a ‘communications form’ in the book to encourage men to take that first step to obtaining help. They can hand it to a friend, a relative, partner or colleague in order to get the ball rolling. It features tick boxes, rather than reams of writing, and is intended as a simple way of saying: ‘I could do with some help, something isn’t right.’
The form is also available on Ann’s website.
‘I would like men to feel validated in their challenges, to understand their minds better and why perhaps they sometimes use unhealthy coping mechanisms,’ she said.
‘I believe it is important to acknowledge where there is a problem – gaining some knowledge is an important step and then to make changes.’
Although she was inspired to write the book in order to help men, she expects that more women than men will actually purchase the book, either in a bid to understand their partner, son, friend, or colleague better, or to encourage them to take better care of themselves.
Ann has been helping islanders with a variety of challenges for the past 10 years. She is a practitioner of a number of therapies, as well as a member and trainer of the General Hypnotherapy Register and General Hypnotherapy Standards Council.
Along with her therapy work and writing, she has been busy this year working on her YouTube channel, which features a variety of guests talking on subjects such as confidence, PTSD and men’s mental health, as well as information to support her books and discussions about general mental health and wellbeing.
She has written two other books, The Energy of Anxiety and The Power of Confidence, and already has plans for more.
‘I do have some ideas floating around and I am writing notes,’ she said.
‘I like to think that I can offer something useful to people, especially those who cannot afford private one-to-one sessions or to generally help people struggling or who want to know more.’
. Stresses of Modern Man, by Ann Bowditch, is released tomorrow and will be available in both Kindle and paperback through Amazon or through Ann’s website, www.abauthor.com, in ebook, mobi (Kindle) or PDF format. Ann will also hold copies locally.