June 13th – 19th is Men’s Health Awareness week and this year’s theme is “Men’s MOT”. The aim is to make men aware of what is going on in their mind, and body, and to take notice of any health problems that might have been ignored during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Men’s Mental Health

While women are more likely to be diagnosed with common mental disorders, there are important indicators of widespread mental distress in men that needs to be tackled.

  • Suicide: Just over three out of four suicides (76%) are by men and suicide is the biggest cause of death for men under 35. Men aged 40-49 have the highest suicide rates in the UK.
  • Social Pressures: Men are far more likely than women to go missing, sleep rough, become dependent on alcohol and use drugs frequently.
  • Low Wellbeing: Men report lower levels of life satisfaction than women according to the Government’s national wellbeing survey.
  • Reluctance: Men are less likely to access psychological therapies than women: only 36% of referrals to NHS talking therapies are for men.

The Stress Factor

A 2016 survey of 1,112 employed men presented a picture of at least one in ten of the male workforce as significantly stressed. On average, 191,000 men a year report stress, depression or anxiety caused or made worse by work – an average of 1.2% of men in work over a 12 months period. This compares to an average of 261,000 women over the same period – 1.8% of those in work.

  • 9% described themselves as severely or extremely stressed
  • 8% strongly agreed that “Overwork and stress caused by a need to achieve on the job or in school affects or hurts my life”
  • 34% agreed or strongly agreed that they were “constantly feeling stressed or under pressure” and 11% strongly agreed.
  • 12% of men said that the last time they were prompted to take time off work to see a GP was because they were “constantly feeling stressed or under pressure” and 11% because of “Prolonged feelings of sadness”

What are the barriers to men seeking help?

Men are significantly less likely to access psychological therapies than women. During the first 3 quarters of 2015, men were only 36% of those accessing psychological therapies. There is no significant difference in recovery rate in response to NHS therapy between men and women. Roughly the same number of men complete a course of therapy as begin it.

34% would be embarrassed or ashamed to take time off work for mental health concern such as anxiety or depression compared to 13% for a physical injury. Amongst men with mental health concerns, 46% are embarrassed or ashamed.

38% would be concerned that their employer would think badly of them if they took time off work for a mental health concern – compared to 26% for a physical injury. Amongst men with mental health concerns, 52% are concerned.

10 Tips for Men’s Mental Health:

  1. Learn where to find relevant info & support 
  2. Avoid using alcohol and drugs to cope
  3. Find a social activity you enjoy
  4. Get plenty of good quality sleep
  5. Explore & reject gender stereotypes and societal expectations
  6. Eat healthily and hydrate well
  7. Actively listen to & support the men in your life
  8. Focus on being happy in yourself not just “manly”
  9. Bust stigma by getting men talking & make it the norm
  10. Exercise routinely and make it fun & sociable

InsideOut support

For further help and support and to see how we can support your employees today contact us through the ‘Request a demo’ button. If you already have access to our award winning service then for more hints and tips check-out the InsideOut app or contact us at [email protected]

Author: Dr Becky Lunson Southall – Chief Therapist at InsideOut