WHY BROTHERS IN ARMS?
In the UK, mental health support for men encounters a complex labyrinth of challenges. The societal notion of masculinity often stands as an intimidating gatekeeper, discouraging men from seeking help for fear of appearing weak or imprudent. The prevalent societal norms continue to idolize stoic traits, inadvertently silencing those who grapple with psychological distress.
Historically and culturally ingrained expectations have left men feeling cornered when it comes to expressing their struggles with mental health. Our society still struggles to accept that even the strongest pillars can crack under pressure, and that men - just as much as women - can be victims of depression or other psychological troubles.
However, at Brothers in Arms, we believe that the key to addressing this crisis lies in empowering individuals themselves. Our strategy is keenly focused on 'Prevention through Self-Management.' We strive to shatter the misconception that seeking therapy and wellbeing support is incompatible with manhood by creating a safe space where they can explore these resources on their terms.
In 2017, we embarked on this path despite scepticism echoing around us; naysayers believed getting Scottish men to engage with their mental health was an uphill battle. Undeterred by these doubts, we adopted a forward-thinking approach: instead of expecting men to break their silence about mental health struggles voluntarily, why not arm them with digital tools they can utilize anonymously at any time?
Today Brothers in Arms stands as a digital beacon guiding men towards self-guided information access and therapeutic aid - all confidential and free-of-charge. This autonomous platform has enabled over 2000 individuals so far in managing their emotional well-being adeptly.
We are not just another project or charity; instead, we envision ourselves as architects designing bridges towards better mental health among UK's male population using modern technology's potentiality.
Suicide, unfortunately, claims more male lives under the age of 45 in the UK than any other cause. Our mission at Brothers in Arms is to change this grim reality. We equip men with digital tools and resources to manage their mental wellbeing proactively, providing a private, confidential space where they can explore their feelings without judgement.
Our digital therapy services are available around the clock - be it at 2 am or 2 pm. We don't wait for distress signals; instead, we believe in proactive prevention through self-management. After all, throwing a lifebuoy when someone's already drowning is hardly as effective as teaching them how to swim before they plunge into deep waters.
Brothers in Arms functions on a self-funding model and depends heavily on donations - many from those who have been personally touched by male suicide. We understand that these contributions are not just financial support but also embody immense emotional investment.
Thus we pledge efficiency and optimal utilization of funds so that maximum resources can be channelled towards aiding men across Scotland manage their mental health effectively using our digital services. Our volunteer-based structure combined with our reliance on digital technology keeps operational costs minimal while maximizing benefits for those who need it most.
In conclusion, we believe that every man deserves a safe space to express himself without judgement or fear - where he feels empowered rather than weak when seeking help for his mental health. Brothers in Arms strives towards making this vision a reality for every man across Scotland and beyond.
In 2014 there were 6,109 suicides in the UK, of which 76%, or 4,623, were male.
Suicide currently stands as the biggest single killer of men aged under 45 in this country.
The ratio of male to female suicide has shown a sustained rise over the last 30 years.
In 1981 men accounted for 62% of suicides in this country.
This increased to 70% in 1988, 75% in 1995 and hit 78% in 2013. (Source: ONS)
At Brothers in Arms, we want to make people aware that suicide is a gender issue.
We want to challenge those social constraints that prevent men from seeking help when they need it.
And we want to support those affected by suicide and depression.
We believe that having a Digital Safe Space allows men to access information and support on their own terms and is a way to start the journey to managing their own mental-fitness
At Brothers in Arms, we believe that there are social and cultural barriers that prevent men from speaking out.
From feedback we’ve received and research conducted men often say that they don’t feel comfortable expressing how they feel when they’re having a bad time.
Because they are expected to be strong at all times.
“Rather than patronisingly insist men ‘talk more’, then blame them when they don’t, we have shown that perhaps it’s time to change how – and where – we listen to men.
And rather than expect men to self-present at their GPs and talk face to face, perhaps we need to take the conversation to them via technology we know they are already comfortable with” Ai and the Secret Life of Men
to ManUp and not doing so equates to weakness or failure as a man, and we become ManDown.
100% all of the time.
We believe in having a digital strategy that provides men the means to support their own mental fitness by using 'Prevention through Self-Management'
Brothers in Arms was launched as a pilot in East Dunbartonshire on the 17th June at the Milngavie Classic Car Show 2017, in response to the amount of male suicide that was happening in the local town of Kirkintilloch.
Inspired by The Calm Zone and Andy Man's Club and because there was nothing comparable in Scotland, we decided with the initial support of See Me Scotland and The East Dunbartonshire Association of Mental Health to create a powerful and effective campaign to directly reach out to men on their terms.
2017- The BIA website was launched
2018- App launch
2019- App update and online coaching launch
2020- App, online coaching and therapy launch
2021- Support channel for those that support men
2023- AI digital therapy support launched for men and those who support them
From an awareness-raising website focussed on both men and their mental health and the high rate of male suicide in Scotland to providing support services across the UK and further afield using cutting-edge technology that enables them to support and self-manage their own mental fitness, rather than waiting to reach crisis.
The Brothers in Arms website is filled with curated articles, stories and experiences that are there to both entertain and inform and to speak from the male point of view about being a man in today's society.
And contains links, contacts, films, and cutting-edge digital tools where men and their partners, friends, and family can find support that is private, anonymous, confidential, and free.
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