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UK News

'Where are the stories where we've found God in the storm?' Charity calls for culture change to help men struggling with mental health

Just under half of men struggled with their mental health in the last six months, according to research by the anti-stigma campaign, Time to Change.

The survey, of 1,500 UK men, found that lack of face-to-face contact with friends during the coronavirus pandemic has left 44 per cent of men feeling they don't have anyone to talk to.

Kintsugi Hope is a Christian charity striving to make a difference to people's mental wellbeing. Patrick Regan OBE is Co-Founder, he told Premier that a culture change is needed so more churches talk about the courage that comes with showing vulnerability.

"I sort of feel that as a Christian leader, it's really important to model vulnerability. Our preaching has often been success after success story, physical healing story after physical healing story. Where is the story where we found God in the storm? When we found God in the hardships, the behind the scenes, the sleepless nights that we've all had, who's talking about those sorts of things? 

"We need to have honest conversations, authentic conversations. Brene Brown famously says in the States, courage and vulnerability are the same thing. I'm guessing you've never heard a talk where you know, someone's shared something really vulnerable and you've gone, so weak? You know, you wouldn't say that would you, you would say you are courageous, they're amazing. I really relate to that."

Patrick Regan added he wasn't surprised by the findings and that he believes it's actually more than 45 percent of men who are struggling with mental health.

"I feel like as guys we know that sometimes we struggle to talk about our feelings and to be honest and vulnerable and accountable. We know that mental health affects everyone. But I think the way you get better or you manage your mental health is by having relationship around you, community around you. And so, if you don't have those relationships, you don't have that community around you, then you keep it to yourself and you feel like I'm the only one struggling. 

"And I know for me, that was definitely the case. For me. I didn't talk about the challenges I had with anxiety for years. And it just built up and built up. And then as soon as I did, I realise, oh, my goodness, everyone feels the same. And, there's a real release in the real freedom in that. I think the other key thing to realise is that struggling doesn't mean you're a failure, it means you're a human being."

Kintsugi Hope was founded two years ago. It runs programmes focusing on well-being and isolation. 

"We've got groups literally happening all over the country, hundreds of people, I think, 186 churches, nearly 600 leaders. Some are happening on Zoom, some are having a mental support bubble," Regan added.

To find out more about the work of Kintsugi Hope and the variety of mental health support available visit www.kintsugihope.com
 

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