Tim Ridley

Aged 47

If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever.

HiS was created after the devastating loss of Tim, we would like to dedicate HiS charity to him, along with other family members from the HiS team. Too many men struggle unsupported and HiS is determined to be there for other men who may feel like Tim did. We hope that its services can prevent another suicide, another family from going through that heartache.

His Family

Anyone who knew Tim would say that he was a shining soul, a bright light in a darkened room. Everyone came to life when he was around them, that was the type of person he was. A kind, loving person with a beautiful soul. Life became too hard for Tim after the trauma of a car crash, that’s all it took to change his life, a car crash. On the 8th May 2019, he decided to end his pain by hanging himself, he was 47 years old. That decision has shattered those who loved him beyond repair.

 

Our Mission

To support men experiencing mental health problems and reduce suicide in men across Kent and the South-East of England.

The HiS Team

The whole of the HiS team knows what you are going through. Each member of its structure has had lived experience with their own mental health struggles, from trustees, and senior management to the backbone of its organisation, the Keyworkers.

We are REAL people for REAL people. This is why our service is highly effective. The charity was founded by its CEO Jules Morris after the devastating loss of her dear friend Tim. The loss of knowing he is no longer with us now was too great.

Jules has spent most of her adult life working in adult and children’s services with mental health. This, as well as her own lived experience with her own anxiety made his death even more tragic to her.

With that knowledge, she formulated a service that literally supports men 100% by walking with them through their journey. 

Here at HiS we have adopted the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, this is a theory by Abraham Maslow, which puts forward that people are motivated by five basic categories of needs: physiological, safety, love, esteem, and self-actualization.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a motivational theory in psychology comprising a five-tier model of human needs, often depicted as hierarchical levels within a pyramid. From the bottom of the hierarchy upwards, the needs are: physiological (food and clothing), safety (job security), love and belonging needs (friendship), esteem, and self-actualization.

Needs lower down in the hierarchy must be satisfied before individuals can attend to needs higher up.

Core Aims

Reduce suicide in men in the South-East

Improve men’s wellbeing and mental health

Develop communities to increase men’s confidence and feelings of control with mental health issues

Reduce isolation and increase social capacity.

Reduce the stigma of mental health within communities

Support those affected by suicide to assist healing

Strengthen agency responses to men experiencing mental health problems

Support healthier communities

Raise awareness of men’s mental health issues

Our Values

Prevention

We have to believe that most suicides are preventable.

Hope

No one should live without hope and we know however big problems may seem and however painful things may feel, things will get better.

Enabling

We believe that without enabling environments people find it harder to open up.

Inclusive

We encourage everyone from all backgrounds experiencing a mental health issue to get in touch. While our services are mostly aimed at men, we can signpost anyone who needs help. We also welcome enquiries from people wanting to get involved or support our service.

Non Judgemental

We believe that working without judgement enables people to open up.

Respect

This forms the foundation of our relationships. We will respect your choices over everything and will work with you on your terms so that it works for you.

Peer Led

We believe that those with lived experience of mental ill-health can be the best people to support others who have similar experiences.

Everything we do is enabling and encouraging people with mental health issues to connect with others.

Men’s mental health: why are we trying to change masculinity rather than create male-friendly services?

Autumn 2017 Martin Seager

It wasn’t until I was in my mid 40s having worked as a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist in the NHS for nearly 20 years that I got struck by men’s issues and how invisible they are. I had been working with men and women for all this time but had only really thought about gender issues as applying to women. What triggered my awakening was a male clinical psychology trainee coming up to me in desperation after one of my lectures at UEL where he was the only male among the 30 or so doctoral students in the room.

 Suddenly I realised that psychology was not a man’s world and then I came to realise that in many areas of life men also can suffer for their gender. Once I started looking around at issues such as suicide, life expectancy, homelessness, addiction, parenthood, imprisonment, educational performance and deaths in the workplace, I began to see that men too have a gender that places particular burdens upon them. From that time I have become passionate in all my work, more recently in the voluntary sector, researching and shedding light on men’s gender issues and developing new ways of reaching and helping men.

 

Summary ‘Open up vs. man up’ is a double-bind that men in our society face and this is in danger of perpetuating rather than resolving their health problems, both mental and physical. By trying to change the male gender itself rather than meet the gendered needs of men, our society is in danger of stigmatising and shaming men and boys more than helping them. I explain this double-bind as a mixture of bad science, political correctness and disregarded evolutionary gender differences.

The injunctions for men to open up and man up constitute a double-bind, which results in a state of affairs as bad for the women and children who share their lives, as for the men in our society. It is a mixture of bad science, political correctness and disregarded evolutionary gender differences. I argue that until we can separate the science and the humanity from the politics and the prejudice, we are unlikely to improve the wellbeing of men considerably and may even in some ways worsen it. I end by showing positive examples of how men and boys can be genuinely helped by those few services that do get it right by tailoring their approach to the needs of men rather than trying to tell men to change their masculinity. Despite the fact that providers of public health and care services are under a statutory duty to tackle gender inequalities, it is still often overlooked that gender inequalities affect men as well as women.

This introduction to the special feature first explores some possible reasons for this male ‘gender-blindness’ and sets out some basic facts about health inequalities relating to men. After highlighting the need to research and develop male-friendly services that are tailored in particular to male patterns of emotional communication and help-seeking behaviour, the special feature editors introduce the collection of articles that follow. Why a special feature of The Psychologist on male psychology? It would perhaps be better – especially at the centenary of the First World War in which so many young men gave their lives – to turn this question around and ask why there has not been one before.

There are two reasons why this might be the case: – Men have traditionally been considered the ‘dominant’ sex, and so it might be presumed that they have no gender issues or needs and that maleness is somehow the ‘norm’ (Addis, 2008); – There are pressures on men to appear ‘strong’ and invulnerable (Gilmore, 1990; Levant, 2007; Mahalik et al., 2003).

This means that there may be an equal covert pressure in our society not to write about or study the male gender too closely.

As psychologists, it is, however, our role to study the full spectrum of the human condition and to replace prejudice in all its forms with the light of understanding. Here is a simple vignette:

In the corner of a railway station waiting room a young woman is sitting alone. Tears are rolling down her face. At first, there is embarrassment among those who notice the young woman’s distress, but after a minute or two a fellow passenger goes over to ask if she can help. Soon the young woman is telling this sympathetic stranger her sad story.

On the platform outside the waiting room, a young man is half drunk. He sits on a bench staring at the place between his feet where some empty beer cans lie. Occasionally he shakes his head. Travellers waiting for the train prefer to stand rather than to sit alongside him. Eventually the man is approached by railway staff who politely ask him to leave the station. The man nods to indicate his willingness, gets slowly to his feet and goes on his way.

Does this story have a ring of truth? Does it tell us something about actual gender difference, hidden perceptions about gender, or both?

The truth is that we don’t entirely know, but as psychologists we should be leading the way in finding out. Sadly, until now, most enlightenment about the male gender has come not from the world of science but from the arts: from novelists, filmmakers, playwrights and even comedians. One thing we do know, however, is that many men avoid seeking help in all its forms and men are more likely to ‘act out’ rather than reflect on their distress (Cochrane & Rabinowitz, 2000; Connell, 2005). But why should this be the case, and what can be done about it?