Stories of Men

The reason we must be talking about men’s mental health

The reason we must be talking about men’s mental health

Our take on why talking about mental health, an invisible illness, is important.

The reason we must be talking about men’s mental health

An invisible illness

Is it possible to be unwell without having a scratch on your body? Can you be sick if none of your bones are broken and your heart is still beating as it should? If you’re sneezing or wheezing, it’s easy to tell that you’re not at the peak of your health.

But what if the outward symptoms are not so clear? What if the health issues you are experiencing have symptoms that others can not easily see?

Mental health issues are a form of ill health that is often out of sight. It is also a form of illness that affects over a third of men in the UK. And 40% of those men will never talk to anyone else about it. So people can not see it and almost half of men experiencing it won’t talk about it. Inevitably, a large number of men are suffering in silence.

Why are men not opening up?

But why is talking about mental health as a man not more common? In a survey conducted by The Priory, a number of reasons were given. The most common reason was that men stated that they had learnt to deal with their condition. 

This reason perhaps seems fairly reasonable on the surface. But why should men have to learn to deal with their mental health struggles in silence and on their own? Surely their journey would have been made easier if they’d felt able to talk about it and explore it with others, whether that be with experts, friends or family members. 

And what will happen to these men if they find they can not continue to deal with these struggles in the future? Will they finally turn to others?

Male mental health stigma

The other reasons men gave for not talking about their mental health struggles highlight the issues faced. Over a third of men said that they didn’t wish to be a burden to anyone. While around 30% said they would be too embarrassed to talk.

The other most common reasons include: the belief that there was a negative stigma around mental health, men not wanting to admit they needed support, and men not wanting to appear weak. It is pretty clear to see the implications behind these responses.

There is obviously a male mental health stigma. Suffering is seen as a sign of weakness, something to be embarrassed about. Men so often derive their sense of value and self-esteem from being independent and self-sufficient. Being a burden to others risks eroding the confidence and self-worth that the majority of men desperately seek.

Talking about mental health as a man

Not talking about mental health as a man can also lead to intense outbursts of temper or a tendency to detach and withdraw from family and friends. Kenny Armour’s story provides an example of the latter response when he discusses being unable to experience joy while interacting with his young children.

Why men need to speak out

Typically, when we refuse to talk about mental health as a man, we provide a breeding ground for worsening symptoms and even worse struggles to come. To put it bluntly, the desire not to be a burden can make us more burdensome; the desire to not appear weak can make us more vulnerable; the desire to not want to admit that we need support often makes the need for that support even greater.

Trying to avoid talking about mental health as a man and attempting to resolve our issues in silence is, therefore, clearly a risky strategy. 

Part of the reason for this is the complexity that surrounds the issue. Mental health issues are often cause by a range of factors including the biological, the social, and the environmental. They can stem from problems at work or from unresolved issues emerging from childhood. 

They can come from worries about our finances or about our physical health. In many cases, the trigger for our mental health issues will not be completely clear to us, and, without being able to identify the trigger, it is virtually impossible to find a resolution to the issue.

The benefits of opening up

Then there is the fact that to deal with a problem you first have to acknowledge that you have one. Talking about mental health as a man is the best way to finally front up to the reality of our situation. 

Both Mike Harris and Darren Smith talk about their honest feelings with us. They’d finally been able to talk about their mental health problems. Darren Smith was even able to get a diagnosis for his issues. It w2as something he would never have been able to discover without first having the courage to talk and seek help.

Talking about mental health as a man is the most important step to beginning to take control. So let’s be brave and acknowledge that it is OK to talk. No man wants to be a burden, no man wants to be weak, no man wants to feel as if he can no longer take care of himself. All of these reasons are exactly why men must speak out when they know something is not right. 

By doing so, we are taking fundamental steps to save ourselves and those we love from having to experience greater pain and possible heartbreak in the months and years to come. We are also giving ourselves the space and support we deserve to help us become healthier, happier men. 

And, finally, through being able to be honest about our own struggles. We might just inspire other men who are going through the exact same experience to open up about theirs. Far from being a burden, we might just end up being a lifesaver.



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Laura is the mix engineer for the Stories of Men podcast. She has a BA in Music from Nottingham University and an Advanced Diploma in Music Production and Sound Engineering from Abbey Road Institute. Alongside working for Our Voices she is a freelance sound designer and technician. Her highlights include sound design for JK Rowling audiobook ‘The Christmas Pig’, and sound effects editing on The Outlaws, on the BBC.

For the Stories of Men podcast, Laura is typically provided with a Voice Over and interview. She then cleans the dialogue, integrates the podcast intro and outros, chooses the music that will add to the storytelling and pacing of the episode, then bring all the elements together in the mix, followed by mastering and then delivering the final edit.

Experience in Industry: 3


Favourite Food: Potatoes

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Favourite Movie: Anything Marvel

Favourite City: London

Hobby: Music

Favourite Book: Northern Lights


I’m the community manager at Stories of Men. I spend most of my time focusing on the implementation of our marketing strategy, achieving goals and KPIs, and the rest of the time listening to the amazing stories of our guests. What I love most about working for Stories of men is the impact it has on peoples’ lives. It requires a lot of courage to tell your story out loud so I make sure these stories are heard by as many people as possible.

I was born and raised in Pakistan and I’ve been living in Hungary for over two years now. I have a Master’s degree in Marketing and I live for mastering the art of digital marketing.

Industry experience: 3 Years


Favourite Food: Biryani – introduced by the Mughal rulers in the Indian subcontinent; this dish is an absolute delight. Also, can never say no to a good burger – extra cheese!

Favourite Sport: Cricket – I grew up playing and watching cricket with friends and family.

Favourite Show: Stranger Things – I love how an odd group of friends fight against challenges bigger than themselves.

Favourite Movie: Harry Potter – The only movie I can watch over and over again!

Favourite City: Prague – Absolutely love the Baroque and Gothic vibe of this city.

Hobby: Netflix, Travelling, and Eating- I want to try different cuisines from every country once in my lifetime!

Favourite Book: The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown – A fast-paced thriller that keeps you hooked from the first page to the last.


I run Fascinate Productions, the production company behind the Stories of Men podcast. I’ve had a wide variety of roles in media, from underwater videography, to live televised sporting events around the world. But since listening to my first audiobook in 2016, I’ve been all about audio and jumped in with two feet. Podcasts are enabling the world to democratise its most valuable information. They’re about spreading messages, and sharing ideas, and it’s my mission to help those holding the knowledge, to distribute it far and wide.

When Alex approached us with the idea of making a short stories podcast, with a big social impact, he got our attention. As the producer of the show, I’ve heard his guests’ highest highs, their lowest lows, and the moments of change that made them who they are – it’s been a privilege helping to craft their most intimate experiences into stories for you to enjoy.

 Experience in Industry: 5 years


Favourite Food: Ice cream. It’s just the greatest culinary invention.

Favourite Sport: Rugby. I played from the age of 5 until 26 when a dislocated shoulder put me out of action. Still like to watch now though.

Favourite Show: The 100 – I love those ‘what if humans nearly got wiped out?’ type shows.

Favourite Movie: Gladiator

Favourite City: London. As a country boy from Yorkshire, I never thought I’d enjoy living here.

Hobby: Listening to podcasts while on long walks with my dog Alfie.

Favourite Book: I love to read anything business/startup related… One of the most recent great ones was Good Strategy/Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt



Richard Willan is the CEO of Fascinate productions, a podcast production and promotion company. Before starting Fascinate, he worked an audio engineer, mastering tracks for artists on major and independent labels.

He is an executive producer for ‘Stories of Men’ where he assists with production, creative direction of the show, and marketing strategy.  





Favourite Food: I love Indian food – My favourite dish is a Dansak. It’s a rich combination of hot, sweet and sour flavours, made from lamb and lentils.

Favourite Sport: I enjoy watching combat sports like MMA – Isreal Adesanya is my favourite fighter at the moment, due to his Tae Kwon Do base and speed. 

Favourite Show: Succession – an American satirical drama. The character development is incredible, and the writing is top notch. 

Favourite Movie: True Lies. I find it amazing that someone who can’t act (Arni) has so many great films.

Favourite City: London, because it is a melting pot of culture and the music scene is amazing. 

Hobby: Making music, going to gym and eating out. 

Favourite Book:  The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I love the world she created, and the incremental path the characters take into darkness. It’s amazing.


I am responsible for writing blog articles for the Stories of Men podcast. I have the privilege of listening to fascinating stories on the topics and issues regarding men that are of greatest relevance to our society today. Once I’ve done this, I create articles that provide an overview and description of the conversations in order to help spread them to the widest possible audience. My job is to make these articles as engaging as the conversations themselves.

As an English teacher who has worked with students from all over the world for over 10 years, I have got used to successfully communicating with those from different backgrounds and cultures. This has helped me to appreciate the value of connection across borders and boundaries. It has also helped me to appreciate that we are all able to learn from each other’s experiences.



Favourite Food: Chocolate. It’s an indulgence, I know, but it tastes so good. I particularly enjoy dark chocolate for its richness and smoothness. 

Favourite Sport: Football.Unfortunately, my local team (Nottingham Forest) is not in that top league but I hope that one day it will be.

Favourite Show: The Wire. 

Favourite Movie: The Godfather. 

Favourite City: Reykjavik. I had the pleasure of spending two weeks there a number of years ago and I loved the place for its beauty, culture and calmness. It’s rare that you can be in a capital city and experience genuine space and peace and quiet. There’s also a black sand beach to walk along, although, due to the cold, I wouldn’t recommend bathing in the sea!

Hobby: Watching films. I love films, foreign films, classic films, contemporary films, just all good films.

Favourite Book: “Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer. 

I’m the Editor of Stories of men. I craft compelling narratives from the stories of our fantastic guests, editing their interviews and scripting the episodes. I’m a freelance journalist and audio producer from Northern Ireland, currently based in California. I cover social issues, health and gender – with reporting in The Guardian, Vice, NPR, Cosmopolitan and many others. My focus is shining a light on the communities and initiatives that improve people’s lives. I have a background in the nonprofit space, having worked in communications for a mental health charity, as well as an education start-up. I mentor young female writers and sit on the board of an NGO that empowers women in global supply chains. 

Favourite Food:  In a word, sandwiches. The possibilities are endless.

Favourite Sport: Show jumping. When I was little I wanted to be a professional horse-rider, and I still get a kick out of watching the pros in action.

Favourite Show: Fleabag: the writing and acting create a thrilling kind of intimacy I haven’t seen anywhere else.

Favourite Movie: Victoria is an incredible German thriller that’s all shot in one take – it’s a real trip. Plus it’s beautifully soundtracked by Nils Frahm.

Favourite City: Very hard to choose, but it’s got to be Barcelona. The food, the pace of life, the winding streets – there’s nowhere else like it. 

Hobby: exploring city streets on my bike – preferably while listening (safely!) to a podcast – is when I’m at my happiest. 

Favourite Book: Bernadine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other is a stunning, utterly unique portrait of womanhood, race, ageing and the principles we choose to live 

I am the host of Stories of Men. I help to find men that have a powerful voice to share and then I speak to them and help to tease the stories out of them that will have a positive impact on the listener. 

While running Swoosh English, an online English school from 2013 – 2021, I had the opportunity to meet men from all walks of life and many of these guys had incredible stories. This inspired me to start ‘Stories of Men’ because I wanted to give these men a platform to share their stories with the world.

I love the detail that people go into and how people craft stories in different ways. My dream and vision for the future would be countless people messaging to tell us how a particular episode has changed their lives!


Favourite Food: Avocados – an incredibly delicious fruit that can be used in so many dishes. My favourite is guacamole with nachos!

Favourite Sport: Boxing and football (couldn’t choose one!)

Favourite Show: 2 comedy series: Alan Partridge and The Office (UK version). I just love English humour!

Favourite Movie: Shawshank Redemption: An unbelievable journey full of twists and turns.

Favourite City:  New York – Living there for a year in 2008 changed my life. It made me believe that anything in life was possible if you want something badly enough.

Hobby: Football, boxing, reading, learning Spanish, travelling and watching fascinating conversations on Youtube.

Favourite Book: Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts – a book about an incredible journey.