As people continue to hunker down at home amid the new world brought on by COVID-19, a new reality filled with isolation and unique challenges have emerged. That's why the non-profit men's health organization, Movember, is offering some tips on their website for reaching out to the men in your lives who might be having a tough time amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"What’s happening now is impacting us all in different ways. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to do, where to start or what to say," said Brendan Maher, Global Director of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, Movember. "As we push through this together, we hope we can empower people to connect with others who are struggling and find the help they need now."
For many men, even in normal times it can be difficult to talk about their emotions - especially if no one's asking them how they're feeling. Movember is offering help with ALEC, four simple steps that can help you reach out to a friend who might be having a tough time amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Health experts say people checking in with the men in their life should begin by asking how he's feeling.
"It’s worth mentioning any changes you’ve picked up on: has he stopped replying to texts? Does he sound different on the phone? Has he gone quiet in the group chat?"
Movember says try and get your friend talking about what's bothering him in a friendly manner like, "You haven't seemed yourself lately - are you feeling OK?"
Trust your instincts and remember people often engage in social obligations by saying "I'm fine" instead of what's really bothering them to avoid piling their problems onto other people. Don't be afraid to ask twice.
Give your friend your full attention and let him know you understand what he's saying and aren't judging him.
"You don’t have to diagnose problems or offer solutions, but asking questions lets him know you’re listening," Movember advises.
Ask a question like,"That can't be easy – how long have you felt this way?"
When it comes to helping your friend snap out of his funk, Movember recommends you help him focus on things that might improve how he feels. Ask if he's getting enough sleep, or eating well and exercising? Ask if something else has helped him out in the past and encourage him to seek it out.
"Suggest that he share how he’s feeling with others he trusts," Movember states. "This will make things easier for both of you. And if he’s felt low for more than two weeks, suggest that he chat to his doctor."
One conversation is good, a follow-up with your friend over FaceTime or in a phone call can help show him that you really care. Plus, you'll be able to get a gauge on how he's feeling.
To speak with someone immediately, contact National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK), contact Lifeline Crisis Chat or contact National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) on 800-950-6264 or Text NAMI to 741741.
If you're ever worried that someone's life is in immediate danger, call 911 or go directly to emergency services.