Welcome to the #BoroManCan website.
This is the online web space for the #BoroManCan brand; a place created by Middlesbrough Men (whether they work, rest or play here). It features real Boro Men's stories, to inspire hope and action for other Boro Men to live longer, function and feel better.
You'll find local stories, services, groups of interest that are already out there (from board games to pub quizzes, book clubs to men's sheds, cooking groups to allotments) to meet blokes of all ages who want to do better and get on to live longer, healthier and simply be happier.
If you live or work in our class (but lets be honest, sometimes troubled) town, have problems of your own your burying, struggle with purpose or meaning in life, feel isolated in life, need help managing your life, your health and just want to live a better life, one step and day at a time, then this place is you to start with all that.
We want this to be a no bullshit site, that steers clear of politics and those things that sometimes divide us and instead focuses on the positives, the things we can all do to be men again in a changing world that maybe, has gone a bit too far; we're the middle ground, trying to make sense of it for Boro Blokes.
We are happy to take suggestions for the site and have funding for the first 2 years to keep it going, after that, it may be over to the men's health community to keep it going. Lets see where it goes...
Lets cut through the crap. Right now, as this website officially launches on Wednesday 22nd January 2020, Middlesbrough Men...
...Die younger than women from nearly all preventable illnesses, like lung cancer from smoking or diabetes from unhealthy diets and weight problems
...account for nearly 4 out of 5 of all suicides locally
...Live longer with illness, and then we die earlier!
...generally, only make up about 1/4 to 1/3 of local appointments for health services, other than Drug/Alcohol support, for which more men are over represented.
Guessing you are realising now that Boro men aren't exactly dealing with their issues in the best way for themselves right?
Why might this be?
Well; some say its because of the pressures on men to act a certain way in life, to live how others expect them to, or how they perceive they might be judged if they act a certain way. That might mean we don't talk about our problems, when we could easily talk about fixing them with friends, family, other men or a GP.
Perhaps we leave things too long before going to the GP (Fact -we do this actually, often saying we don't want to waste their time) when we should get help when our bodies tell us.
For some reason, the culture about men toughing up and manning up may cause us to not take action when we know we should.
Maybe, if we decided to treat ourselves as if we were someone we were responsible for looking after, we might not choose to numb emotional or physical pain with alcohol or drugs , rather than just tell a trusted someone, whoever, and just enjoy a drink or whatever with friends when the time is right. Imagine saying to your own son, who tells you they are worried or struggling and life is getting on top of them, to drink more and more every night and sniff some coke. You wouldn't, we would hope! You'd listen, and try and get them to set off making decisions to help them sort it out, so treat yourself the same way.
MAYBE, and this is the BIG PROBLEM, we need to recognise that being strong and COURAGEOUS can happen only one way, and that's by opening yourself up to your own VULNERABILITIES and recognising that being the man in the arena, willing to show up no matter what, and put yourself out there is the key to it; not bottling it up and hiding it away. One way or another, your problems have a way of catching up with you...
Being a man can still be about being strong by being courageous but we know from many stories of men over the years who have struggled and then turned things around that it isn't about the violence, the drinking, the denying, but tackling and not taking responsibility for their issues and ACCEPTING what life brings you and getting help so you can deal with it properly.
Our #BoroManCan champs case studies are real Boro blokes who have been there, bought the t-shirt, made the mistakes and been courageous enough to share their stories here, fully vulnerable and out there to give you permission to do the same. Be a man, be courageous, deal with your issues, don't bottle it up and get on with it. There's loads more reading, you tube vids, apps and weblinks to see you down the rabbit hole of helping yourself so enjoy the website.
This website will be continually adding content and inviting blog articles from organisations and contributors, so if you would like to contribute then please do get in touch through our case study submission form or share your own group or service to help men using the services form as well.
Maybe you want to blog a piece about men's health, we can help with that as well.