November is here, meaning that it’s time to start growing a ‘Mo’ for ‘Movember’ in support of men’s mental health and start getting those conversations going. At the College, we’re excited to be supporting this initiative and even have “An evening with…” planned this ‘Movember’.
To kick start the month of celebrations, we thought it would be great to share a Mo Bro’s story. Joe Bercis is an ambassador for the ‘blOKes’ organisation that strives to create resources for those struggling with their mental health. Joe also plays Flanker position for Ampthill First Team who are currently playing in The Champions league. It is often misunderstood that in order to play any sport, especially one so demanding as rugby, you cannot show your emotions. This month we are striving to show you that it is not the case...
Let’s hear a Mo Bro’s story!
Speak Up by Joe Bercis
I decided to get involved with ‘blOKes’ as I love the work they’re doing, addressing issues with mental health in men in general and athletes in particular. With people very close to me having suffered or currently dealing with these sorts of problems I was very keen to help where I can.
There’s a stigma, especially in sport, about admitting emotional vulnerability. Men should be strong and tough, and shouldn’t have any issues when it comes to mental health. We should ‘man up’. I’ve seen a few of my close mates struggle and it’s sad to see that they don’t want to talk about it when, really, that is the best thing to do.
Until very recently I’ve felt I’ve dealt well with the everyday strains of life. I love the competitive element of rugby with Ampthill, and never suffered with any sort of self-doubt. I won’t go into too much detail, but my partner and I have a new addition to the family, our beautiful daughter India. With this came pressures I’ve never felt emotionally and physically.
I kept very quiet about my thoughts and how I was truly feeling. I’d put on a fake smile at my workplace, rugby training and at home. I was bottling up this overwhelming sense of being down, being somehow inadequate. I was not myself at all, and something had to give.
I was sitting with my partner Lydia when I just broke down to her and spoke about how I was feeling. I then spoke to a few other family members and the near instant relief was just what I needed. A huge invisible weight lifted off my shoulders. I just wish I spoke sooner.
I learnt that I wasn’t the only person feeling these emotions and I wasn’t less of a ‘man’ for talking about my feelings. You are never in this alone. Speak to someone. I promise it helps.
If you want to see more of what the 'blOKes' organisation are doing to help those struggling with mental health, then check out out the link below to see their 'support' page: https://www.blokes.life/support
How to access our counselling service? You can access the College’s counselling service via your student portal on MyPCL to self-refer yourself or if you feel you need a one off session? You can book a one to one with the College’s counsellors for an initial session via Pearson College Code (www.pearsoncollegecode.com).
Stay tuned for more as we share what’s on offer from the College.