‘They don’t have proper eating disorder stats for men, they’re afraid to talk’

by Raj Das

Dubliner Keith Russell is making a determined comeback to his role as a mental health advocate after a difficult period. Russell, who suffers from body dysmorphia, a condition characterized by distress over one’s appearance, has been spreading awareness about the disorder since his diagnosis in 2020. He has a particular focus on male eating disorders, as he believes that men are often reluctant to seek help for these issues.

Russell’s journey began in 2018 when he was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Two years later, he received a diagnosis of body dysmorphic disorder. Throughout his struggles, Russell found solace in blogging, which eventually led him to start a podcast called “The Endless Spiral.” On his podcast, he speaks to individuals from various backgrounds about their mental health struggles and seeks insights from mental health professionals.

However, Russell recently experienced a setback and took a break from his podcast to focus on his own well-being. During this time, many of his followers reached out to him, expressing their support and wondering when he would return. Encouraged by this response, Russell decided to continue his advocacy work. He has since resumed blogging and is preparing for the sixth season of his podcast.

Reflecting on his own experience, Russell expressed his determination to prevent others from losing years of their lives to mental health issues. He believes that the conversation around mental health has improved significantly in recent years but acknowledges that there is still a stigma that prevents many men from seeking help. Russell feels a sense of responsibility to share his own struggles so that others may realize that improvement is possible and that they are not alone.

In his advocacy work, Russell has collaborated with Bodywhys, the Eating Disorders Association of Ireland, and has discovered that men are often more reluctant to speak about their problems with eating disorders. He believes that the pressure men face to conform to society’s expectations of masculinity contributes to their reticence in seeking help.

Russell emphasizes the importance of ongoing conversations about body positivity and mental health, particularly among young men and teenagers. He notes that the pervasive influence of social media and reality TV can amplify body image issues, highlighting the need for continued awareness and support.

Despite the challenges he has faced, Russell’s dedication to raising awareness about body dysmorphia and other mental health issues remains unwavering. He has made numerous media appearances, spoken at charity events, and continues to share his story to inspire others. Russell believes that anyone can overcome their lowest points and hopes to be a source of support and inspiration for those struggling with their mental health.

Looking to the future, Russell vows to continue advocating and spreading awareness about body dysmorphia and other mental health issues. He understands the impact these conditions can have on people’s lives and is determined to ensure that others do not have to suffer in silence. Russell recognizes the need for open conversations around mental health and hopes that his efforts can contribute to a more supportive society.

In conclusion, Keith Russell’s personal journey with body dysmorphia and his commitment to advocacy serve as an inspiration to others. His determination to raise awareness and create meaningful conversations about mental health, particularly among men, offers hope to those who may be silently struggling. By sharing his story and encouraging others to seek help, Russell proves that no one should endure their mental health challenges alone.

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