Today, we are all shocked to read that people with mental health problems are still being told to ‘Man Up’ by irresponsible members of the mainstream media.
The culprit of this archaic, neanderthal, unsympathetic, nasty, damaging demand? Piers Morgan. Of course.
The antagonistic journalist has momentarily broken from telling women what to wear, calling Ewan McGregor a “paedophile-lover“, and making mums cry, to take a jab at some of society’s most vulnerable people – one in four of us, actually, according to statistics from Mind.
34 million UK adults are mentally ill? What utter nonsense.
Man up, Britain & focus on those who REALLY need help. https://t.co/C21SAg09AL
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) May 10, 2017
On Morgan’s Twitter feed yesterday – a hive of scum and villainy if there ever was one – the 52-year-old shared the following sentiment, much to the outrage of pretty much everyone.
Responding to the news that 34 million Britons have experienced a mental health problem, the broadcaster wrote:
34 million UK adults are mentally ill? What utter nonsense. Man up, Britain & focus on those who REALLY need help.
The analytical study that Piers was so quick to dismiss in arrogant disbelief, which states 65 per cent of Brits say they have experienced a mental health problem, comes from the Mental Health Foundation and was released at the start of Mental Health Awareness Week.
Needless to say, many observers of Twitter were disheartened and royally ticked off to see such a giant leap backwards for mankind’s attitudes towards mental health.
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Piers Morgan really doesn't understand mental illness. Unless he would also tell people with a lump to man up and not see a doctor.
— Matt Haig (@matthaig1) May 9, 2017
Piers Morgan said James Bond was real & men should stop talking about mental illness. Fleming had depression & his son committed suicide.
— Janey Godley (@JaneyGodley) May 9, 2017
This comes just days after Morgan offered a quick quip in retort to HRH Prince Harry’s brave admission regarding the effects his mother’s death had on him, as a 12-year-old boy.
The broadcaster said, “I’m not convinced by this new trend of male public soul-bearing” and added, “Time for our gender to get a grip, methinks. Life’s tough – man up.”
Methinks it’s easy to publicly express disbelief over the existence of mental health problems in such a worryingly large proportion of Britons when you’re Piers Morgan.
His stance – summed up in 140 characters, as Morgan is wont to do – enrages observers into social media engagement; the precise commodity on which journalists like Morgan and his compadre in crimes against kindness, Katie Hopkins, feed.
Piers has since argued that he would “never tell mentally ill people to man up” but “would say it to mentally healthy people who shirk dealing with normal life issues”.
Just to clarify, Piers Morgan is just a journalist. Not a doctor or a psychiatrist or a mental health expert or even a man with a pair of glasses that can look into someone else’s mind and understand how it feels to walk in their shoes.
Yet, he’s here, on our Twitter feeds, dismissing the scientific research of a pioneering organisation that has been in operation for 60 years, trying to tackle stigmas and bolster scientific research surrounding invisible illness.
— Mental Health Fdn (@mentalhealth) May 10, 2017
The Mental Health Foundation have delivered a harsh truth that Piers is too blinkered – or too bigoted – to comprehend.
Echoing the wildly misguided MP George Freeman, Piers argues the same point that mental health treatment should only go to “really disabled people” and not those “taking pills at home, who suffer from anxiety“.
The fact remains, invisibles illnesses like depression, addiction, anxiety, panic attacks and PTSD can send a shadow over any citizen, anytime, anywhere, regardless of your gender, political persuasion of your income bracket.
Just look at the recent admissions of Brad Pitt, Stormzy, Ryan Reynolds, Zayn Malik, Kid Cudi and Tom Hardy, as well as the detainment of footballer Aaron Lennon under the Mental Health Act over concerns for his own safety and the rehabilitation of Kanye West.
Mental health does not discriminate against men. But other men do. Men like Piers Morgan, who evidently does not understand how one naysayer – one unkind and insensitive tweet telling someone to ‘man up’ – can make all the difference for a patient of clinical depression or someone with suicidal tendencies.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, invisible illnesses and behavioural problems are the primary drivers of disability worldwide, causing over 40 million years of disability in 20 to 29-year-olds.
You thought Piers Morgan was out of touch and his views were out of date? Try 40 million years past their best.
His assertions are a slap in the face to all men. He assumes that mental health difficulties can be shaken off, fixed with a stiff upper lip and a pint. He fails to see that mental health is also dictated by biological factors and brain function, influenced by factors of nature as well as nurture.
Samaritans confirm that of the 6,188 suicides registered in the UK, the highest rate was among men who “compare themselves against a ‘gold standard’ which prizes power, control and invincibility”; particularly in the age bracket of aged 40–44 because “men in mid-life are now part of the ‘buffer’ generation, not sure whether to be like their older, more traditional, strong, silent, austere fathers or like their younger, more progressive, individualistic sons.”
It’s attitudes like Piers’ that perpetuate the old myth that admitting to mental health problems is a sign of weakness – and we’re seeing those attitudes reflected still onto a younger generation.
Piers Morgan is entitled to say what he wants – whether it represents his true opinion or a mere money-making soundbite – thanks to his right to free speech.
We also all have a right to ignore his dated, harmful advice to ‘man up‘ and the ensuing implication that those with mental health difficulties should suffer in silence until they snap.
So, if you feel down or need someone to talk to, don’t listen to Piers. He’s paid to be an asshole.
Instead, call the Samaritans on their 24-hour freephone hotline on: 116 123.
A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.