What lies beneath….

……. the truth behind bullying, male domestic abuse and depression.


A new school year is well underway and children are happy to be reunited with their friends, while parents can take a sigh of relief and welcome back normality and routine. While most children are returning to the school they know there are those that are starting a new school. Those that are moving from infant to junior will find the transition fairly easy, those moving up to high school could find it harder to adjust. From what I can remember that adjustment went okay for me, it wasn’t until I had to move from one high school to another that I found it hard. New surroundings and a lot of new faces. Being the new kid is always challenging. With Eric starting high school this year I was nervous for him, more nervous than he was. My biggest worry was bullying. He has a soft soul and as much as I hope high school builds his confidence I still worry it could have a reverse effect if bullying was to occur. For now he is loving his new school and the challenges it presents. I hope it stays that way.


Let’s return to bullying. Unfortunately bullying is rife in every day life too, we don’t leave it in the playground after graduation. We all experience some form of bullying as adults at some point in our life, whether we witness it or we are the victim ourselves. In a recent survey more than half of UK workers have experienced some form of bullying and half of girls in the UK are regularly bullied on some form of social media. The subject I want to hit upon though is men being bullied by their spouse or partner. A subject not given enough media coverage and often considered a taboo subject. Bullying is abuse – not just physical but also emotional, psychological, coercive control and isolation. A lot of men don’t believe or feel they are a victim until sometime after they no longer have control of their life and have become isolated. The stigma attached to male domestic abuse makes it incredibly difficult for men to initially approach the subject, let alone admit they are a victim.

Domestic abuse affects an estimated 1.9 million adults aged 16-59 every year in the UK. 700,000 of those are thought to be male. Men are less likely to be victims of domestic abuse but they are sadly even less likely to talk about it. In 2016 to 2017 , 13 men tragically died at the hands of their partner. Male victims are over three times as likely as women to keep their abuse a secret or refuse to tell the police or medical professional.


  • Samaritans 116 123
  • CALM (for men) 0800 58 58 58
  • Domestic Abuse Hotline 0808 802 3333
  • ManKind Initiative 01823 334 244



Abuse often leads to the feeling of isolation and inevitably, depression. According to the World Health Organization more than 300 million people suffer from depression and that number has risen by 18% between 2005 and 2015. What’s more, nearly half of those people don’t get treatment , largely due to the stigma attached with mental illness.

This is especially true for men, because they tend to show symptoms that aren’t typically what you would associate with depression. While you might think that the primary symptom is just a general feeling of sadness, it’s far from the only one. Without treatment depression can hamper your ability to live a normal healthy life. Your sadness becomes more severe, because it’s combined with and can set off other crippling symptoms.

  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Physical pain
  • Weight loss or gain

A lot of men see the symptoms of depression as signs of weakness and feel like they lose their masculinity. However, it requires real strength to be able to say “I’m not doing well and I need some help.”

Sadly too often lately we read of celebrities who we ‘think’ have it all and live a happy life. That false smile that hides unseen demons inside. Robin Williams, Chester Bennington and the late, great Chris Cornell – that’s three men in as many years.  Chris Cornell even talked about his depression in  Men’s Health  years before he took his own life.  As front man of Soundgarden the lyrics to Black Hole Sun can be translated into the struggle that he was already having fighting his depression.

The hardest part is accepting you need help –

  • Samaritans 116 123
  • CALM (for men) 0800 58 58 58
  • Papyrus (under 35) 0800 068 41 41
  • The Silver Line (for mature males) 0800 4 70 80 90
  • MindInfoLine 0300 123 3393
  • Aware 08451 202 961


THUMBS UP – You’re not on your own.


I’ll leave you with this happy chappie on his first day in his new school.




Goodbye to you from your Hoobaddyhoo

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