Talking about men’s mental health

a profile photo of Carly Francis
Onsite Mental Health Therapist for Bupa Clinics
12 November 2020

Research shows that men are less likely to access mental health support when they need it compared to women. That’s why it’s so important to raise awareness about men’s mental health. There are simple things you can do to encourage the men in your life to speak out and get help when they need it.

How does mental health affect men?

Statistics surrounding men’s mental health suggests that in England:

  • one in eight men have a common mental health problem, such as depression or anxiety

In England and Wales:

  • 75 per cent of all suicides are men
  • men aged 45 to 49 have the highest suicide rate of all age groups
  • in 2019, the suicide rate in men was the highest it’s been since 2000

Now more than ever, continuing to support men and encouraging them to take action is crucial.

What stops men seeking mental health support?

There are many reasons why men may be reluctant to tell anyone how they feel. For one, gender roles and the expectations that society places on men are known to make it less likely for them to get help. These factors also contribute to poor mental health.

The sense of having to live up to expectations of being ‘strong’ has created the perception that seeking help is somehow ‘weak’. Yet research suggests that men understand the value of being there for others who might need support.

However, only 48 per cent of men stated that they would actually seek it.

It’s therefore really important to promote the benefits of getting support and overcome the stigma of asking for help.

What can we do to help?

One way you can help the men in your life is to continue to work towards normalising the experience of talking. Be that with your male friends, brother, dad or anyone else.

There is so much value in the conversations we have with each other. Making the time to do this could make all the difference to how someone feels. And it may help them take action and begin to take control of how they’re feeling.

If you’re noticing some differences in the behaviour of the men in your life, these three simple steps could help encourage them to speak out.

  1. Check in with them. Simply asking how they are or highlighting if you’ve noticed any differences in their behaviour may help. Don’t be afraid to ask more than once either.
  2. Listen to what they have to say. Having asked if they’re ok, make sure you listen to them if they tell you what’s on their mind. You don’t have to have the answers or give advice, but just listening is really valuable.
  3. Reconnect. Make a plan together to catch up again soon. Knowing that they have someone who cares could make all the difference.

Continuing to encourage men to speak up when they have difficulties is, and should continue to be, a strong agenda for both mental and physical health. So, let’s keep talking.

Our health insurance allows you to skip a GP referral in some cases, and speak to a mental health practitioner. Learn more today.

a profile photo of Carly Francis
Carly Francis
Onsite Mental Health Therapist for Bupa Clinics

    • Men and mental health. Mental Health Foundation., accessed 10 November 2020
    • Suicides in England and Wales: 2019 registrations. Office for National statistics., published 1 November 2020
    • Suicide facts and figures. Samaritans., accessed 5 November 2020
    • Men’s health. Movember., accessed 10 November 2020

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