So, this IMD I thought I’d make things a bit more personal. In light of the themes this year and the fact that I do not have this lived experience, I thought I’d ask my husband his thoughts. To meet Robbie you would never know that he suffers from depression and those who it has been shared with are often shocked.

He’s spent a good portion of his adult life without realising he has depression and wouldn’t have labelled it as such in his 20’s, he just knew he ‘struggled’ sometimes and never really stopped to connect the dots in that way. In his early 30’s he recognised his feelings and low moods as mental health issues and when he shared this with me, when we got together, I felt whole-heartedly gutted for him because he is genuinely the very best of eggs (and I’m not even being biased!) It’s endlessly hard and frustrating to watch someone you respect, value and love so much to not consider themselves in the same way you do.  We openly talked about medication and agreed, it wasn’t the answer, it was a ‘sticking plaster’ and some form of talking therapy would make more sense. That is yet to transpire. Admittedly, it has taken me a long time to learn more about depression to have a better understanding of it, how it manifests in Robbie and in what way I can support him – not by saying to go for a walk!! 

However, after the birth of our first child Robbie decided he should seriously consider medication after sitting in his car night after night not able to come into the house with me and our baby daughter as it was too overwhelming. He knew he wanted to be present with us and this was a problem that needed attention – his actions weren’t aligning with what he wanted in his heart. That’s when he started taking medication to regulate the chemical imbalance he has and I have to admit it’s been life changing for him. Not an easy ride and some trial and error with side effects /getting the right dosage etc but we have consistency most of the time and that really makes a BIG difference. It’s something we will always both have to continually work at, there is no ‘quick fix’ or easy solution.

Robbie has been great at taking time to speak to other men and being open about his experiences, helping others to show vulnerability. He’s a tradesperson and has experienced the toxic masculinity within the industry as well as with mates who live for being ‘lads’. 

When I asked him about what advice he would give to men who are ‘struggling’ in some way; feeling low, worthless, overwhelmed… (perhaps not yet realising that they have a mental health condition);

  • There are so many lads who don’t talk about emotions, don’t surround yourself with negative people or those you can’t connect with or relate to, otherwise it will make you feel worse.
  • If you did share your feelings, thoughts, experiences and didn’t get the reaction you hoped for – keep trying to find someone who can understand & don’t give up. Even if you don’t want to, you need to try.
  • People with similar experiences can be reassuring – some people may not be able to say anything to make you come out of what you’re going through but knowing you have someone to talk to when times are rough helps lift the burden.
  • Role models are important. Celebrities like Tyson Fury who share their experiences, can be massively impactful, visibility matters [Talk Sport is good for having guests on who share their stories of mental health].
  • Set goals around interests, hobbies and although you won’t feel like it, get some fresh air – do not turn to alcohol as a crutch (or worse), it’s a slippery slope.
  • Toxic masculinity so often contributes to both mental health issues and the reason they don’t feel like they can talk about them. We need to constantly challenge it.





For further support, locally to the North East (and beyond) Robbie recommends;

To read: Strongman: My Story, Eddie Hall

To watch: True Geordie Opens Up About Mental Health Struggles

To listen: BBC Sounds – Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig – Available Episodes

To talk:  @andysmanclubuk  |  @menspieclub  |. @joshybanyard

More information and support including ways you can help someone else, visit



On November 19 International Men’s Day celebrates worldwide the positive value men bring to the world, their families and communities. 

IMD highlights positive role models and raises awareness of men’s well-being. 

2021UK Themes: 

  • Making a positive difference to the wellbeing and lives of men and boys
  • Promoting a positive conversation about men, manhood and masculinity
  • Raising awareness and/or funds for charities supporting men and boys’ wellbeing