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MENS MENTAL HEALTH

 

Society's expectations and traditional gender roles play a role in why men are less likely to discuss or seek help for their mental health problems. We know that gender stereotypes about women – the idea they should behave or look a certain way, for example – can be damaging to them. But it’s important to understand that men can be damaged by stereotypes and expectations too.

Men are often expected to be the breadwinners and to be strong, dominant and in control. While these aren’t inherently bad things, they can make it harder for men to reach out for help and open up.

Some research also suggests that men who can’t speak openly about their emotions may be less able to recognise symptoms of mental health problems in themselves, and less likely to reach out for support. 

Men may also be more likely to use potentially harmful coping methods such as drugs or alcohol and less likely to talk to family or friends about their mental health. However, research suggests men will access help that meets their preferences and is easy to access, meaningful and engaging. For example, Men's Sheds provides community spaces for men to connect and chat, often over practical activities.

Is Depression Different For Men?

While there isn’t a different sort of ‘male depression’, some symptoms are more common in men than women. These include irritability, sudden anger, increased loss of control, risk-taking and aggression.

Men may also be more likely to use alcohol and drugs to cope with their depression rather than talking about it. They may use escapist behaviour too, such as throwing themselves into their work.

If you're experiencing depression, there is help available. Read more about the symptoms of depression and ways to get support.

Suicide And Men

In 2017, nearly 6000 suicides were recorded in Great Britain. Of these, 75% were men. Suicide is the largest cause of death for men under 50. 

Higher rates of suicide are also found in minority communities including gay men, war veterans, men from BAME backgrounds, and those with low incomes. Less well-off middle-aged men are particularly likely to die by suicide. 

What can I do if I’m worried about my mental health?

If you’re concerned you’re developing a mental health problem, talk to your GP. It can be daunting, but most people find that speaking to their GP and getting help and support can make a big difference to their lives.

If you're in distress and need immediate help or are feeling like ending your life, please call 999 or go to A&E and ask for the contact of the nearest crisis resolution team. These are teams of mental health care professionals who work with people in severe distress.