In the UK, around 1 in 8 men have a common mental health condition and 3 out of 4 suicides are committed by men. Why, then, do so few men take time off work for mental health challenges like low mood and depression?
While stigma still exists for all mental health challenges to some degree, it is arguably more prevalent around men’s mental health. In many cultures, males are meant to fulfil a traditionally masculine role, and any admission that they need help may be perceived as a sign of weakness. As a result, men are more likely to turn to substance abuse when struggling with mental health which can lead to them being categorised as addicts rather than as somebody struggling with mental health problems.
One of the best ways to reduce the stigma around mental health for men is to talk about it. Over the past few years, more and more male celebrities have been sharing their own mental health stories to help others understand that it’s ok to talk and seek help.
Men’s mental health role models
Dwayne ‘The Rock Johnson’
Regardless of who you are or what you do for a living, depression doesn’t discriminate … The key thing I found is … especially for us as guys….you gotta talk about it, you’re not alone.
“I think the key to it all is never keeping it in and never thinking that’s the right thing to keep it in”
“I tend to get pretty depressed and I have some issues with anxiety and things like that”
“The hardest thing for me was talking”
“I remember sitting in my room for four or five days not wanting to be alive, not talking to anybody”
“Underneath it all I was just worrying about what was going to happen and I was actually depressed”
Where can you find support for men’s mental health?
We believe the key to supporting any mental health condition is in early intervention – i.e. finding support as early as possible before your mental health can deteriorate to suicidal thoughts and self-harm.
Research has shown that men are more likely to seek mental health support if it is made available online, anonymously and at any time of day, therefore our recommendations focus on support methods that meet those conditions.
Support groups & forums
We host a monthly ManCave event designed to provide a safe non-judgemental space for men to come together and discuss mental health. You can come along to seek advice, share your own experiences, provide support for other men, or at first simply join with your camera and microphone off to listen to the session and know that you’re not alone.
You can also join our free Health Unlocked community to get tips and discuss problems with others in an anonymous online forum.
Mental health apps
Shawmind are working with Flourishzone to improve the mental health and wellbeing of 1000 people in the UK via their AI-powered wellbeing app. Flourishzone provides you with your own confidential world where you can develop whatever skills you like including resilience and practical mental health skills.
CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably) have a helpline and webchat you can use from 5pm to midnight 365 days of the year. CALM are dedicated to supporting men who are feeling suicidal or who need to talk for any reason. Quite accurately they proclaim “Being silent isn’t being strong.”
Men’s mental health tips
Men need to look after their mental health as much as any other individual but it can be hard to know where to start. Here are some tips to help you look after your mental health:
- Get plenty of exercise – even a short walk can massively improve your mental wellbeing
- Talk regularly to friends and loved ones to maintain human contact (and help each other spot when something changes!)
- Make time for yourself even if you have a job and/or family to look after – you can’t care for anyone else if you’re not first taking care of yourself
- Eat and drink well – your physical health can have a huge impact on your mental health and vice versa so looking after both is key!
If you or a man you know needs support with mental health, feel free to come to one of our events or send us a message via WhatsApp.
Mental health is not a weakness. But without early intervention it can become much more serious. Help us in our mission to support mental health by donating or participating in one of our training sessions.