Dad uses own mental health struggles to support other men

Scott Hardiman set up his business to support  and coach men after experiencing his own struggles. 

St Neots dad Scott Hardiman set up his business to support and coach men after experiencing his own struggles. - Credit: Scott Hardiman

A St Neots dad who suffered low self esteem and lack of confidence throughout his teenage years has used his experience to retrain and now offers confidence training and support to other men.

Scott Hardiman, aged 32, a former funeral director, is now a qualified fitness and confidence and progress coach.

He admits his own mental health struggles dominated much of his twenties, but he failed to recognise what was happening to him.

"Through a lot of my teenage and adult life I suffered with low confidence and low self-esteem, but it was a feeling I just accepted, and thought this was the way I was and always would be," he explains.

"When I was younger, it was all about my body. 'What do I need to do to look better'? 'Is this muscle looking right'? I need to exercise more, do more squats, do more bicep curls, I used to drive my body into the ground and not look after my mind in anyway at all and what happens is, it catches up with you."

"All of a sudden, this anxiety hit me and I was in a very bad place and it lasted for a very long time. It is not something I would wish on anyone. I kept pushing through. I was the typical 'I'm not going to do anything and it will just go away' type of person, but it didn't and I hit a very low point. 

"I decided I needed to make a change and make sense of what was happening. I managed to take myself out of the hole I was in and now I help other people do that."

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Scott retrained as a personal trainer and later a confidence coach and set up his business two years ago and his focus is supporting men.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) report about three-quarters of suicide deaths registered in 2019 were men, 4,303 compared with 1,388 women. The Samaritans also points to “worrying trends”, that men aged 45-49 remain at the highest risk of suicide. The suicide rate for men in England and Wales in 2019 was the highest for two decades, official figures show.

The statistics are not lost on Scott who took on a fund-raising challenge last November, cycling 4,303 seconds each day on his spin bike to raise money for Movember.

He, like many other professionals, believe there are particular mindsets and ingrained traits that can make it more difficult for men to open up and admit they are struggling.

"There is this thought process around men and them not sharing as much as they should," he says. 

"It takes time for men to speak out and talk about how they feel. I am not a counsellor, I am a coach, but quite often, we will just talk, back and fourth and then we can deal with fear of failure and those negative thoughts and anxiety." 

While not everyone with depression, anxiety and low self esteem, will resort to harming themselves, Scott believes it may take another generation before men feel more comfortable to speak more openly and admit they need help.

"It is going to take our children to see men, and women, talking openly about the way they feel. You can tell a child to do something, but when they see it happen that's going to have more impact than just saying ' you need to talk' or 'you need to let me know if you are not okay' and that is going to take another generation I think."

He also says the simple, but sometimes incredibly difficult act of talking to someone, is key.

"The benefit of getting something out of your head is incredible. It's simple, it's straightforward, but talk to someone. By talking, you are helping yourself because it is good to get it out of your mind, but you could be helping the other person as well and when you help, you feel good.

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