As a society, we are beginning to talk about male mental health more openly.
However, it is often when boys and men have already hit crisis point, rather than exploring ways to prevent them from reaching this stage.
This is where Alex Holmes swoops in, holding a microscope to mental health and masculinity to explore ways in which he can support future generations before problems escalate.
He does this by helping them develop emotional intelligence so they have the tools and language to understand what is happening to them if and when they hit difficulties.
Having experienced first-hand what it is like to resist feelings and push it all down, Alex, a trainee psychological therapist, knows the power of opening up over bottling up.
Speaking about his journey, Alex revealed he grew up in an environment where he learned that men do not to talk about emotions and that he was to ‘shut up unless you are spoken to’.
Alex said: “I spent most of my life going through school, university, and my career as a journalist, not talking about where I was at emotionally or mentally. It was life as I knew it.”
However, the traumatic experiences that Alex tried to squash began to build up inside and his relationships soon struggled as he wasn’t able to communicate what was going on.
Alex continued: “I was going with the motions, ignoring my emotional life and vulnerability, until I had three breakdowns, my body was reacting against me from the tension and pain I was holding.”
It wasn’t until Alex – who also hosts mental health and spirituality podcast, Time To Talk – found himself in therapy that his healing truly began.
Alex explained: “The moment I stepped into the therapy chair, I had to unpack all of the preconceived ideas of what it meant to be me.
“These parts involved race, masculinity, status, sexuality, materialism, emotional health, mental health, childhood experiences, and more. For every uncovering, there were more questions. For every question, there were deepening answers.”
Now, Alex feels galvanised to share his own experiences in a bid to tackle the devastating rise in suicides that make it the leading cause of death in men under the age of 45 in the UK.
Alex also strives to be a voice for black people, who are four times more likely to be diagnosed with a serious mental health condition and more likely to be arrested under the Mental Health Act.
He added: “We are living in an increasingly disconnected world. We need spaces to talk and explore our inner selves. Becoming emotionally resilient requires us to be both emotionally intelligent and aware, something most men don’t know how to be.”
Alex’s fascinating insight is also available to read in his book, Time to Talk: How Men Think About Love, Belonging and Connection.
For more info, click here: Alex Holmes.