Men’s Mental Health
Why is men’s mental health such a taboo? Why do some men find it hard to talk about? There are many question marks on the subject of men’s mental health which need to be answered! In England, statistics show that around one in eight men has a common mental health problem, such as anxiety, depression or panic disorder. However, is it hard to pinpoint correct statistics as we can only know about the ones that have been reported, leaving many cases to go undiagnosed along with men’s mental health.
We have many signs showing us a better picture of the state of men’s mental health:
- Over three times as many men die by suicide compared to women.
- Men aged between 40 – 50 have the highest suicide rate in England.
- Only 36% of referrals to the NHS for talking therapies are men.
- Three-quarters of adults who go missing are men.
- 87% of rough sleepers are men.
- Men are three times as likely as women to become dependent on drugs and alcohol abuse.
- Men are more likely to be compulsorily sectioned for treatment.
- Men are more likely to be involved and victims of violent crimes ( 1.5 more than women )
- Men make up the vast majority of the prison population.
So, why don’t men talk about mental health?
The social expectations are high for the traditional gender roles of men; society has told us since we can remember that the men are the breadwinners, the “man” of the house, the dominant one. Expectations and stereotypes can be seriously damaging to one’s mental wellbeing. Though these expectations might not seem like a bad thing, they can make it harder for men to reach out and open up.
Other research suggests that men who struggle to talk about their emotions openly may be less able to recognise the symptoms of mental health problems, meaning they’re less likely to reach out for help as they are unsure of what is it themselves. Because of this, men are more likely to use harmful coping methods to forget about their feelings. Such as drugs or alcohol abuse. However, research also shows that men will access help when they feel it is easily accessible, meets their personal preference, engaging and feels meaningful.
Is there a difference in depression for men?
Depression can differ for each person, and sexes show different signs of depression. Some symptoms for men include sudden bursts of anger, loss of control, risk-taking, irritability, and aggression. Escapism is also a common sign of depression in men, such as throwing themselves into their work-life or using substance abuse.
2017 showed an astonishing number of nearly 6000 suicides in Great Britain, of which 75% were men. Most commonly for men who are under 50. Minority communities have a higher rate of suicide, including gay men, war veterans and those with low incomes.
We need to be more aware of men’s mental health and make an effort to talk about it. Ask yourself this question… why do you find it uncomfortable asking for help and whether those reasons are actually stopping you from getting the support you need.
It is okay to ask for help. We all struggle; it’s just about making the change yourself and seek support. It’s only a phone call away.
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