As a GP, I encounter a lot of stressful situations.  Stress is well known to lead to illness.  The death of a spouse is the one of the most stressful situations we can find ourselves in and we all know how frequently the “other half” passes away soon after.

Divorce and losing a job are not surprisingly stressful, however going on holiday or paying off a mortgage also figure amongst the situations causing stress.  I remember some of my family holidays and “That’s the last time we come on holiday with you lot” is recalled!

How we recognise stress is important.  Men tend to bottle things up and don’t talk about stress enough.  As blokes we tend to be too “macho” and don’t admit we’re feeling the pressure.  This leads to sleepless nights and too much booze and fags.  Ultimately it can lead to depression and illness.

This year, one in four of us will develop a mental health problem. That is odds of 3 to 1. Or about the same as France or Germany winning Euro 2016.  In other words, it’s likely to happen sooner or later if we let stress build.

There are many things we can do to beat stress: exercise, sing, dance, laugh, play or listen to music, paint, write, volunteer, learn something new and lots more.  I go fishing!  Tell us what you do.  It’s good to talk.

My message to men:  talk about how you beat stress, talk about what causes it. Talk to your mates, talk to your family.  And if you want to talk to a professional try the Men’s Health Forum’s new Beat Stress service – free text chat with experts trained in beating stress, no names, no hassle.  This service will be launching during the week.

If you’re feeling stressed give it a try.  Get it off your chest before it affects your health.


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