We're here for anyone who needs someone.
In a recent survey, we found out some of the main reasons why men find life tough and struggle to cope.
Debt or financial worries
Job loss or job-related problems
Relationship breakdown or family problems
Loneliness or isolation
Looking back, it was a really empowering and bonding experience. It changed my views about masculinity.
Anthony was brought up by his mum and when she became ill, he looked after her and became her carer. Wanting to be strong for his mum, Anthony found it difficult to cope and had to give up his job, which put financial strain on him and his family. Here’s his story:
“I found it difficult to talk about how I felt. It felt private and personal. I felt so bad for my mum about what was happening to her.
"I had to give up my job which created financial pressures, I started to feel overwhelmed and became very depressed, I felt as though I was on the verge of suicide.
"I don’t know what made me think of Samaritans, I think I had done some collecting for them in the past. I phoned them four times, and it helped a lot. It was really important that the person wasn’t judging me, they were really patient. Talking to Samaritans really helped me to put things in perspective and carry on.
"When my mother was dying, I was able to talk to her and it really helped me to find closure. I felt she could go in peace after I had talked to her. It was a privilege to spend so much time with my mum. The support Samaritans gave me was an integral part of being able to cope with what happened.
"I would advise anyone in a similar situation to talk to someone about what they are going through."
My advice is don’t bottle things up and don’t keep things to yourself.
David found things tough when his relationship broke down and it was difficult to see his daughter. Diagnosed with cancer at the same time, David found himself struggling to cope. Here’s his story:
"While there were problems with my 12-year-old daughter and our relationship, I was diagnosed with skin cancer. I had to take time off work and there were financial implications. It got on top of me. I had to try and get on with life, I’m a strong character – that’s what I told myself. I’d tell myself ‘pull yourself together, other people love you’.
"I did share things with friends, but I do try and put on a brave face. I am still going through dark periods in my life, fortunately the dark periods are shorter now. Health wise everything is fine now.
"I think it’s best to talk things through with people, its better out than in. Talking things over with Samaritans, friends and family is important for anyone going through a tough time."
You never think it will happen to you. My family are quite tough. Their attitude was “a kick up the bum and get on with life”.
Harri suffered two heart attacks which led to depression as he struggled to cope. Here’s his story:
“It came to a head eight years ago when I had two heart attacks, followed by four bypass operations and I found it hard to get over. I got very depressed.
“I felt as though I wasn’t any better, in spite of the operations.
“My wife and daughter were working, so I put on a brave face for half an hour every morning, and then went back to bed or lay on the sofa all day. I wasn’t going out, or doing anything, and I was home alone.
“My Dad was a paratrooper in the Second World War, he was at the Bridge of Arnhem, and he was hard man. He was wonderful as well, but my family had this attitude that you just got on with life.
“My sister is a doctor and got me to go back to the hospital. I felt fobbed off about the way I was feeling, but when I went back with my sister, the doctor looked at my case again. They found that four more of my arteries were blocked and I had another operation.
"Afterwards it was like a switch being turned on. My energy was better, within weeks I was able to go out and do what I wasn’t able to do before. It had ground me down so much and I was so vulnerable, it was unbelievable.
"I felt as if I had turned a corner and now I would advise anyone who is in that situation to seek help earlier, it would have made a huge difference to me."
They would say to me, “You should be a counsellor”, I could give advice to other people, but it is always more difficult to sort yourself out.
Adam found himself struggling to cope about five years ago, when a lot of things happened at once. Having a problem with substance abuse, Adam ended up losing his job of 14 years. Here’s his story:
“I had bought my own flat at the time, so not having a job led to problems with the mortgage, so this combination of factors conspired to make me feel depressed, I went to a dark place.
“I went to the doctor and he arranged for me to have some counselling myself. It did help me, but it was quite fragmented, for example, just six sessions at a time.
“I was in a WhatsApp group with a lot of friends from school, and often people asked me for emotional support. I like helping people, so I decided to do a counselling course, which I’ve just finished.”
The bad days were very lonely for me, I lived on my own and didn’t share my problems with anyone and I didn’t really speak to anyone at all.
“I was living the perfect life with the perfect girl and perfect house. But then we split up and I found I had no girlfriend and no house to live in, so I started hitting the alcohol to drown it all out. It felt like I had everything and then I had nothing. I ended up living in a caravan and drinking all day long to cope. I was at the pub where I could be the life and soul of the party, I didn’t share my problems with anyone and people just thought, ‘he’s fun down the pub’ because I was drinking so much.
“Six months later I was walking down the street with a bottle of vodka in my hand at 10.30am. I was stopped by a lady who happened to be a child psychiatrist and I think she also volunteers at Samaritans on the phones. She took me to a café and we had a chat. It sounds simple but she noticed something wasn’t quite right when she came across me. After talking everything through with this stranger, she helped me out and it made me think about taking steps to put things right.
“I got a new job and focussed on that rather than sitting around drinking all day. I started earning money and renting a house.
“It can be the male way of dealing with things to not share problems and hide it. I was sitting in the caravan all day and thinking “is it worth it”? I was also sitting in the pub not speaking to anyone a lot of the time but needed to be in the pub just to be around people, but often I never spoke to them either.
“Friends have said to me since then, “Speak to us if it happens again”. Now I am working and it feels great to do my work on the race track - you see life and death and it helps put things into perspective. I feel like now I am back in work I have turned my life around. "
I felt it was useful for me to be with people who were also experiencing challenging issues.
“I started having disturbing thoughts and I felt as if I was on the edge of being suicidal. It was hard at first, I was wondering how I would show the GP what was wrong. Before I went, I was thinking about whether I would rather speak to a woman or a man, and I felt that I had more confidence in a woman.
“My GP was very reassuring and helpful, and I felt as if she had time for me, which I know is difficult because there is only a short period for each appointment. She spoke to me for half an hour.
“The GP encouraged me to self-refer to an organisation called Healthy Minds. They did have a waiting list, but once I was able to attend their activities, it got me out and I enjoyed seeing people and having a cup of tea with them afterwards.
“I took part in group sessions and it was helpful to find, when you discuss what is going on, that what is happening in other people’s lives can make you realise what you are going through might be small, compared to other people.
“I felt it was useful for me to be with people who were also experiencing challenging issues. We helped each other, and our talks gave me a different perspective.
"You take small steps forward – and sometimes you might take one step forward and two steps back. I got involved with the Real People, Real Stories campaign because I have been really down too, and I felt my words were from the heart.
"I would say there is always hope, and if you do not try you will not get anywhere. It’s good to take small steps forward."
It’s really important that we encourage more people to seek help before they reach crisis point.
Rick has lost three friends to suicide which prompted him to become a volunteer, using his experiences to help others.
Here’s his story:
“Three of my male friends have taken their lives over the years. Two of them struggled with drug addiction and the other just really couldn’t handle what life threw at him.
“It was really difficult to deal with. I’ve always known about Samaritans, though I’ve never got in touch myself.
“I went along with a family member to a Samaritans information and selection meeting as we both wanted to help people. After that day I had training and have been doing it for over 13 years now.
“When I’m providing emotional support, it is comforting to feel like I am giving respite and an opportunity to release the deepest, darkest thoughts, by those that need it at that moment in time. It’s really important that we encourage more people to seek help before they reach crisis point.
“I know from festivals where Samaritans attend, that the younger generation are already a lot better at supporting each other with their mental health. But my generation, especially the males, can still struggle to acknowledge and talk openly when they are feeling low. That’s something we need to try and change.’
If you’re feeling low or struggling to cope, it’s okay. Call us free, on 116 123.
Whatever you're going through, call us free any time, from any phone, on 116 123.
- Open 24 hours a day
Maybe not if...
- You have patchy phone signal
- You prefer to write things down
- You're looking for advice
Visit a branch
Write a letter
Sometimes writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you better understand them.
- Time to compose your thoughts
- Time to reflect between letters
Maybe not if...
- You need urgent support right now
- You have no fixed address
- It's hard for you to post a letter
Write to us
PO Box 9090
Sometimes writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you understand them better.
- Time to compose your thoughts
- No need to respond right away
- Work things through over time
Maybe not if...
- You need urgent support right now
- You want to talk things through in one go
- You want to speak to the same person throughout