Men in particular are at increased risk of mental ill health with many feeling unable to recognise that they are suffering or to reach out for help if they need it.
The following Oxford Health expert explains why it is so hard for men to get the support they need.
Hasanen Al-Taiar, consultant forensic psychiatrist, said: “Psychiatric conditions can be more challenging to diagnose and treat in men. This could be for a variety of reasons including men’s reluctance to seek professional help. In the UK, men are only around half as likely as women to access psychological therapies, and it’s also believed they are less likely to speak to family or friends about mental health issues.
“A big factor in this issue is the damaging stigma around mental health problems. One in four people experiences a mental health problem each year, yet the negative perceptions around them is greater than with physical illness. This tends to affect men disproportionately, and societal expectations and traditional gender roles are thought to play a big part in this.”
If you are feeling any of the following things then help is at hand:
- Feeling down, depressed or hopeless
- Trouble falling or staying asleep or sleeping too much
- Losing interest or pleasure in doing things
- Eating a lot more or less than usual
- Feeling tired or having little energy
- Drinking more alcohol than you feel comfortable with
- Using substances more than you feel comfortable with
- Trouble concentrating
- Feeling nervous anxious or on edge
- Worrying too much about different things
- Trouble relaxing
- Becoming easily annoyed or irritable
Where to get support?
Going to see your GP is often the best way to do this, as they will be able to assess how serious your mental health problems are and organise the relevant support. The following organisations have lots of useful resources as well.
- CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably – Phone: 0800 58 58 58 (daily, 5pm to midnight) or visit: thecalmzone.net
- Samaritans – Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline) or visit: samaritans.org.uk
- Men’s Health Forum – visit: menshealthforum.org.uk
Talking about men’s mental health
On Thursday 25 March NHS England South East have created a free virtual webinar from 10am -12pm focusing on developing a collaborative approach for men’s mental health. They will be welcoming Joe Potter from the Samaritans who has recently be involved in creating guidance on ‘Engaging Men Earlier’.
The event will be of particular interest to those who work or volunteer in mental health, but anyone is welcome to attend. To register click here.