Mental Health blog post

Men's Mental Health: Why It's Okay to be Sad

We are told all the time that our mental health is of paramount importance, and of course it absolutely is. The question is: are we doing enough to make this a world in which we can live and thrive in rather than merely exist?

The statistics in the UK make for grim reading and suggest that we are far from achieving anything close to this. According to the Mental Health Foundation, males are most at risk, with three times as many men committing suicide as women. Men are also much less likely to seek therapy or talk about their problems. The traditional British notion of keeping a ‘stiff upper lip’ in the face of adversity that stretches back to World War II is far more toxic than many of us may realize.

With a year of lockdowns behind us, it’s inevitable that things will feel significantly worse in the wake of that. As life begins to return to normal, however, we have the opportunity to build a world in which men do not have to adhere to the ‘strong, dominant breadwinner’ stereotype. Equally, women should not always have to adhere to the ‘stay-at-home mother’ stereotype that places so much unnecessary pressure on young girls. The world has changed so drastically in recent decades, so changing with it is crucial.

The biggest challenge around all of this is the cases that are inevitably unrecorded due to the stigma around mental health. This is particularly true in children, who often will not know how to express themselves, or to let others know that they are feeling down. At 1decision, we look to end the stigma through our curriculum.

Take for instance our storybooks featuring our Rainbow Drops, available in read-to-me or animated form depending on learning style. Our Rainbow Drop characters help increase emotional intelligence and encourage empathy in children, as they are placed in situations that children will be able to relate to.

Take for example one of our more recent videos, ‘Pink is Feeling Sad’ (see below) - a story in which Pink’s friend, Red, notices that he seems sad. Though Pink chooses not to talk about his sadness at first, he comes to realize that things become a lot better when he talks to his teacher.

Our Rainbow Drop storybooks form part of our Early Years Portal (ages 3-5), meaning that we encourage children to start thinking about their emotions at an earlier stage of development. We realize that mental health issues can emerge at any point in life, so we firmly believe that helping children to understand as soon as possible is a moral imperative.

The Rainbow Drops also form part of our new RainbowSmart App; available free on Google Play and the App Store now. Alongside our storybooks, the app also has mindfulness videos to encourage positive mental health, and vocab flashcards to overcome those linguistic challenges. We want to be a part of the journey toward bettering our collective mental health beyond the classroom. After all, improving as human beings and excelling academically go hand in hand.

Following on from our 3-5 portal, our Primary curriculum continues to deal with emotional and mental health throughout our two Portals. Feelings and Emotions is a unit contained within both the Primary Portals available (ages 5-8 & 8-11). We need to let children know that it’s okay to not be okay, and that things can be a lot better when talking through our emotions.

For more information on how 1decision is helping children with their mental health, check out our website here. We can even offer a free trial or a live demo if you want to find out if we’re the right fit for your school.

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