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LIGHT IN THE DARK

Depression does not discriminate-it can affect anyone, at any time. Yet as varied as the causes, signs and symptoms are, new light is being shed on the effective role exercise can play in combatting the illness

Increasingly accessible and widely shared, the stark statistics relating to the state of men’s mental health can no longer be brushed aside. In the UK, 12.5 per cent of men are suffering from one of the common mental health disorders. Worse still, 76 per cent of suicides – over two-thirds – are by men. Until the age of 35, if you’re a man in the UK, the thing most likely to kill you, is you.1

People suffering from depression can display a wide range of symptoms, which are classified as being either mild, moderate or severe. Like any mental illness, however, depression is complex and not easily defined, and it’s possible for one person’s depressive episode to shift from mild to severe and back again. Depression can develop without distinct triggers, or it can be caused by confusing periods in our lives.

“One age range with particularly high rates is 1624,” explains Dr Jill Owen, a chartered sport and exercise psychologist based in Guildford, Surrey. “This period represents transition into adulthood and may present a number of challenges relating to relationships, identity, career decisions, new responsibilities and physical changes in the body.” Those changes are also mirrored later in life, when the identity challenges and physical changes associated with growing older can make men particularly vulnerable to depression once more.

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