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Giving boys the best possible start in life

men's signShane Noone, actor, writer and most importantly, a member of our network is our guest blogger for International Men’s Day.

It would be easy for me to say that in this day and age that it’s no problem for men of all ages to open up and share their feelings, but that would be false. As much as people would like to tell us men that it’s simple to open up and we should, only one half of that is true. Yes we should, but it’s not so simple. Not for many many men out there, especially young men.

The 19 November is International Men’s Day, slap bang in the middle of Movember, kind of. The theme this year is “ Giving boys the best possible start in life”.

Looking after your mental health

Rates of suicide and depression in young men are still unbelievably high in Ireland and especially in rural areas. Why is this? Isolation, lack of options? It  would seem one of the best possible start for boys would be to learn early on how to look after their mental health.

Outlets

I think we need to encourage men from an early age to try as many creative outlets as possible. Sport has been well documented as valuable for learning life lessons early on, and from experience I’d agree. You learn about hard work, success but also loss and struggle, which are valuble life skills. Also,you learn a sense of belonging to something bigger than any one person.

Express yourself

Just beause we’re men doesn’t mean sport suits all of us, but there are so many other creative outlets out there that are excellent methods of self-expression – music, writing, acting, song, art or even charity. These are great means by which you can put your experiences, situations or feelings out there, and use them, make them useful and don’t just let them use you.

World outside

It’s also important for young men to realise that a big interesting world exists outside of their school or social circle. As someone who comes from a small town in the west of Ireland I know when you’re young it’s easy to think the whole world revolves around your little area. But there’s so much more out there.

Part of self-expression can be spreading your wings, meeting many people similar to you and many interesting places to see. So get out there, express yourself, find a creative outlet that suits you. It could be one of the best things you do,  for you and your mental health.

It’s not about being the best man, it’s about being the best person you can be.

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