Our friends at Talk plus have sent us some information to share. A couple of our members have found their services to be very helpful.
In England, around one in eight men has a common mental health problem such as depression, anxiety, panic disorder or obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
As with many mental health statistics, it’s hard to know if the figures really represent what is happening. They can only tell us about mental health problems that have been reported – many cases may go undiagnosed. This may be especially true when it comes to men’s mental health.
There are other signs that might give us a better picture of the state of men’s mental health:
Three times as many men as women die by suicide.2
Men aged 40-49 have the highest suicide rates in the UK.
Men report lower levels of life satisfaction than women according to the Government’s national wellbeing survey .
Men are less likely to access psychological therapies than women: only 36% of referrals to NHS talking therapies are for men.
Nearly three-quarters of adults who go missing are men.
87% of rough sleepers are men.
Men are nearly three times as likely as women to become dependent on alcohol, and three times as likely to report frequent drug use.
Men are more likely to be compulsorily detained (or ‘sectioned’) for treatment than women.
Men are more likely to be victims of violent crime (1.5 more likely than women.
Men make up the vast majority of the prison population. There are high rates of mental health problems and increasing rates of self-harm in prisons.
Why don’t men talk about mental health?
Societal expectations and traditional gender roles play a role in why men are less likely to discuss or seek help for their mental health problems. We know that gender stereotypes about women – the idea they should behave or look a certain way, for example – can be damaging to them. But it’s important to understand that men can be damaged by stereotypes and expectations too.
Men are often expected to be the breadwinners and to be strong, dominant and in control. While these aren’t inherently bad things, they can make it harder for men to reach out for help and open up.
Some research also suggests that men who can’t speak openly about their emotions may be less able to recognise symptoms of mental health problems in themselves, and less likely to reach out for support.
Men may also be more likely to use potentially harmful coping methods such as drugs or alcohol and less likely to talk to family or friends about their mental health. However, there is research to suggest that men will access help when they feel it meets their preferences, and is easily accessed, meaningful, and engaging.
What can I do if I’m worried about my mental health?
Making simple changes such as talking about your feelings, keeping active and eating well can help you feel better.
If you’re concerned you’re developing a mental health problem, talk to your GP. It can be daunting, but most people find that speaking to their GP and getting help and support can make a big difference to their lives.
If you're in distress and need immediate help or are feeling like ending your life, please call 999 or go to A&E and ask for the contact of the nearest crisis resolution team. These are teams of mental health care professionals who work with people in severe distress.
There are organisations that offer practical and emotional advice and support.
I’m worried about someone’s mental health. How can I help them?
If you’re concerned about a friend or relative, there are things you can do to help them.
Let them know you’re there to listen to them without judgement.
Someone who is experiencing mental health problems may find it hard to reach out, so try to keep in touch. A text message or a phone call could make a big difference.
Find out about local services such as talking therapy or support groups. See if there are any specifically for men if you think they’d prefer that. Mind has an online directory of peer support groups in England and Wales.
Help them to get help. Reassure them it’s okay to ask for help, and that support is out there. You could help them contact their GP or accompany them to their appointment if they want you to.
Organisations that can help
If you need support, or want to learn more about men’s mental health, contact these organisations.
Men's Health Forum
Information taken from https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/m/men-and-mental-health