Men and Mental Health

Statistics indicate that one in every eight men in England suffers from a common mental health issue, for example, anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or panic disorder.

However, just like most mental health statistics, it is difficult to determine whether these figures paint the full picture. This is mainly because they only account for cases that have been reported. Keep in mind that most mental health issues go undiagnosed, particularly in regards to men’s mental health.

Here are some other facts that can help give us a better insight into the state of men’s mental health:
Three out of four suicides are by men (76%)

  • Men between the ages of 40-49 have the highest suicide rates in the UK
  • According to the Government’s national wellbeing survey, women are more likely to report higher levels of life satisfaction than men
  • Men are less likely to seek help for psychological issues than women: NHS talking therapies for men account for only 36% of referrals.
  • Men are much more likely to have sleep issues, go missing, use drugs frequently, and become dependent on alcohol than women.

Check out our statistics page to learn more about how mental health issues affect men differently from women.

Why do men choose not to discuss mental health?

Perhaps the biggest reason why men are less inclined to talk about or seek help for their mental health issues is society expectations and traditional gender roles. Gender stereotypes about women – the notion that a woman should behave or look a particular way – have been found to be harmful to them. However, most people tend to overlook the fact that men too can be negatively affected by stereotypes and societal expectations. As a side, point see here for hartwood surgery.

We know all too well that men are expected to be strong, dominant, in control, and most importantly, the breadwinners. These factors are not only damaging to men in and of themselves, but they often make it more difficult for men to open up or seek help.

There is also evidence that shows that men who tend to bottle up their emotions are less likely to identify symptoms of mental health issues they might be undergoing, and less likely to seek help.

In addition, men are more likely to resort to risky coping methods, for example, alcohol and drugs, and less likely to open up to family and friends about the state of their mental health. Nevertheless, research also indicates that men will seek help if it is easy to access, meets their preferences, and is meaningful and engaging. For instance, Men’s Sheds offers conducive spaces for men to connect and chat, often while engaging in practical activities.

Is depression different for men?

First of all, there is nothing like ‘male depression,’ however, certain symptoms are more common in men than in women. These include sudden anger, irritability, risk-taking, increased loss of control, and aggression.

Men are also more likely to resort to drugs and alcohol as a coping technique rather than talk about it or seek help. They may also demonstrate escapist behavior, for example, directing all their focus into their work.

Suicide and men

Suicide is the leading cause of death for men under the age of 50. In 2017, nearly 6,000 suicides were reported in Great Britain and of these cases, 75% were men.

Suicide rates were found to be higher in minority communities such as gay men, men from BAME backgrounds, war veterans, and those with low incomes. Middle-aged men with financial problems are at a particularly high risk of dying by suicide.