Radio Times

Over the past year I have loved my appearances on BBC Radio Bristol. Over the phone, I’ve talked on topics such as whether it’s ok as a parent to act differently when a son or daughter is upset, and the affect of encouraging boys to adopt a ‘stiff upper lip’. In the studio, I have had fun in central Bristol with the boys, practicing yoga in the studio with the radio presenter, and talking children’s literacy and yoga stories.

Yesterday I was delighted to be invited to call in to BBC Radio Bristol’s warm & friendly John Darvall’s popular morning show.

As context, as the BBC called, I was wiping weetabix from one of the boy’s faces during the usual hectic morning routine before work. The BBC’s researcher was very friendly, and we exchanged stories on Movember and handy tips on how to beef up my Mo by using mascara!

I only had 20 minutes before being live on air. So I took this time to find calm amongst the chaos, take a few deep breaths and reassure myself that I can do this.. although stop short of standing in front of a mirror shouting ‘you the man!’ I take pride that the BBC is interested in what I’ve got to say on the show.

John was talking mental health, in particular access to services. A BBC survey had highlighted that people in the south west struggled to access mental health services when they experienced issues and sought help. John was interested in what I, and fellow callers to do look after our mental health, with a particular interest in any preventative measures such as through yoga.

I focused on how my Yoga For Men classes are breaking down barriers on men’s interest in practicing yoga. The opportunity to be practicing in a safe space, amongst like-minded men and able to be themselves, not just what society expects them to be. I’ve talked extensively on men’s access to yoga in previous blogs.

In the context of access to services, I talked about my Movember campaign. How this is so much than growing a mo, but more about highlighting the severity of the men’s health crisis faced globally. Equally, bringing this closer to home by shining a much needed light on local charities doing some incredible work – not just on mental health and suicide prevention services, but also on cancer support. Providing a safe space for men to talk openly about men’s health issues is so important – whether it’s in the class or their everyday lives.

The call was over before I knew it and it was back to encouraging the boys to sit on the potty, then work!

I didn’t get chance to mention a new mental health service launched recently that warrants plugging here. Every Mind Matters shows people the simple steps they can take to be better prepared for life’s ups and downs. This new platform has been endorsed by the Royal College of General Practitioners. The platform will enable people to create a personalised self-cate action plan for stress, boost mood, improve sleep and feel in control.

Of course, it’s not just through health services and charities where we can access support. It’s all around us, and potentially only a click away on your phone or laptop or through local community groups.

Breaking the stigma on mental health has a long way to go before it’s socially acceptable to open up confidently on what can be complex issues and not feel as though you’re being judged, discriminated against and isolated. Campaigns such as Time to Change are just one such example of leading a social movement to change the way we all think and act about mental health.

The final Yoga For Men class as part of my Movember campaign includes a talk from Bristol Mind on its impressive work in the region. All profits will be donated to Bristol Mind. The yoga is exclusively for men (starts 7pm), the talk (starts 7.50pm) and is open to everyone.


Interview starts from 17 – 21 mins snd remains available for 28 days.