Ronan Keating on mental health: For men, it is similar to having testicular cancer
All the stereotypical notions of masculinity -- about men not crying, not showing emotions or ‘mard ko dard nahi hota’ -- have gouged deep into the psyche of men. This only adds to the stigma surrounding mental health issues, dissuading many men from seeking help. And that’s something which terribly bothers international pop sensation Ronan Keating.
“The stigma has gone away, to an extent in the UK, but it is just a start (of the improvement needed). I feel it is a similar situation where men (had testicular cancer) and were scared to talk about it,” shares Keating, on the occasion of World Mental Health Day.
The singer, who has had his share of mental health struggles while coping up with the demise of his mother Marie and Boyzone bandmate Stephen Gately, gives another reference to explain his point. “It goes back to when women used to be scared to talk about breast cancer because it was a taboo. It was a part of the body that we wouldn’t talk about, or women would feel uncomfortable going to a doctor to talk about it”.
“It became the same problem for men and testicular cancer. But it is important to speak about them and go to the doctor to get checked. It is the same situation with mental health,” explains the When You Say Nothing At All hitmaker.
Keating has been vocal about the need to have more conversation to remove the stigma, and uses his star power to drive the dialogue. He is also the brand ambassador of UK charity, StringMen, which supports men following bereavement. “That’s because we need to hit it right at the beginning. We need to nip it in the bud. We need to be able to speak about it, understand the feelings and express (them freely),” he mentions.
The singer-songwriter stresses that the ongoing pandemic has elevated the need to have more discussions around mental health, which is something he does regularly with his children. “My two children are in their 20s, and the pandemic has left a great impact on the young generation. It is scary. I speak to my kids and try to help them understand what they’ve been through and the sacrifices they’ve made,” Keating expresses.
But what about his own mental health?
“I lean on my wife (designer Sharyn Storm Keating) and speak to her. She knows me and looks for signs. If she thinks I am struggling with anything, she will help me. Also, I am good myself, and will know when I’m going down a rabbit hole and what I need to do,” he concludes.