International Men’s Day and the month of November as a whole is a great opportunity to raise awareness for Men’s mental health. Statistics show that 1 in 8 men struggle with their mental health however, talking therapies statistics indicate only 36% of referrals are men. These two statistics indicate that men find it harder to speak up about their struggles which leads to the suicide rates in men being three times more than in women. It is time to speak up about mental health issues and empower men to start having conversations about them.
What are the main causes of men’s mental health issues?
There are various reasons for why men find it harder to talk about their mental health but one of the main reasons for it are social expectations of men and gender roles. Whilst expectations of gender roles are slowly changing from the ‘traditional’ type, some men still feel the world expects them to be strong and in control, regardless of what they are experiencing. These beliefs make it harder for them to talk about their mental health issues openly as they are worried it would portray them as ‘weak’ and ‘out of control’. Furthermore, because mental health is not spoken as much amongst men, they may not be able to notice the symptoms or know where they can get help from as they’re not as educated on the topic. Statistics also further show that men are more likely to become dependent on alcohol and drugs. One of the main reasons for this can be that men turn to these harmful coping methods as a way to ‘deal’ with the issues that are causing the mental health difficulties.
What are the signs of mental illness in men?
In many cases, men suffer with mental health issues as they are not aware of the symptoms. If you are concerned about your own mental health or someone else’s, below are some of the symptoms you should be aware of:
- Constant worry
- Overwhelming feelings of sadness
- Distancing from family and friends
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling extremely tired
- Sleep problems
- Low motivation
What should I do if I’m worried about someone’s mental health?
If you have a brother, a father, a friend or other family member who you feel may be struggling with their own mental health then you can help. Here are some practical things you can do to try and support them or to persuade them to seek professional help:
- Talk to the person and most importantly, listen to them. If they’re not ready to talk, let them know that you are there when they are ready.
- Look for sources of practical support. Seeing a mental health professional may not be necessary or they may not be ready to do this. There are some great resources on the internet that can provide practical tips. This might be more comfortable for the person, in the first instance. Org.uk is packed full of information that is really helpful whether you are suffering or supporting someone who is suffering.
- Offer to go with them to appointments with their GP or with a mental health professional. You don’t need to sit in the consultation, unless they want you to. Just going with them to the appointment may help them in getting the support they need.
- See if there are any local support groups that might be able to provide help. There are lots of local groups that cover specific conditions such as addiction issues or more general men’s mental health groups. Check out menssheds.org.uk as a great example.
What should I do if I’m worried about my mental health?
You can find general tips for looking after your mental health by reading 5 ways to keep your mental health in check. You may find that making little changes such as getting more fresh air, developing a better sleep routine and talking to family and friends may make a huge difference to how you feel.
Alternatively, if you feel like you need professional help, you should talk to your GP.
Most of our patients who are admitted for in-patient care are referred to Cardinal Clinic by their GP or other healthcare professional. However, it is also possible to refer yourself. For programmes such as our Alcohol Detox programme, it is normal for patients to request admission themselves.
If you feel that our in-patient service would be of benefit, please take a look at our page about getting a referral from your GP: Arranging a GP Referral. Alternatively, you may wish to consider referring yourself: Arranging a Self-Referral.
Useful links and resources:
- Samaritans are available on 116 123 (UK) for free, 24/7. They are there to talk to and listen, and they won’t judge or tell you what to do.
- C.A.L.M.: National helpline for men to talk about any troubles they are feeling. Call 0800 58 58 58 (UK). They are available 5 pm-midnight, 365 days a year.
- For support in a crisis, Text Shout to 85258. If you’re experiencing a personal crisis, are unable to cope and need support. Shout can help with urgent issues such as Suicidal thoughts, abuse or assault, self-harm, bullying, and relationship challenges.
- Alcoholics Anonymous- call 0800 917 7650