Anyone can experience mental health difficulties, but fear of judgement or discrimination may prevent people from opening up and seeking the support they need. This stigma tends to affect men disproportionately, and societal expectations and traditional gender roles are thought to play a big part in this.
Although there have been some improvements in men feeling able to seek help for their mental health, there is more to be done to ensure that men can access the support that they need.
- Two in five men (43%) admit to regularly feeling worried or low which is an increase from 37% in 2009.
- The number of men who have suicidal thoughts when feeling worried or low has doubled to 10% since 2009.
- Men are still more likely than women to drink alone or take recreational drugs to relax when feeling worried or down.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that in 2020, three times as many men as women died by suicide, and men aged 40-49 have the highest suicide rates in the UK.
It is more important than ever to support men in being more open about their experiences, and to encourage them to seek the help that they need.
There are many misconceptions about mental health difficulties which make it hard for men to talk to others and take charge of their health.
“Real men don’t ask for help”
“I don’t want to appear weak”
“A man should be able to control his feelings”
“I’ve learnt to deal with it”
“I don’t wish to be a burden to anyone”
“I have no one to talk to”
For more information on some of the barriers men encounter when accessing mental health services, please see our page on Men’s mental health: barriers and tips.
Starting conversations with men who are struggling may seem daunting. But getting them to open up can be easier with practice.
Movember have put together 'how to tackle important conversations with men' guidance. Pick a topic such as:
- He's withdrawn and obsessing
- He's struggling to juggle work and family life
- He's heartbroken
They will help guide you through how to start the conversation with confidence and keep it moving in a helpful direction.
Also learn how to use simple, proven, and helpful phrases to reach out to a man who’s going through tough times. Read free Movember articles and resources to download.
The film below was developed by a PhD student at King's College London and features interviews with five different men discussing why it can be difficult to seek help and speak to others about their mental health. Topics covered include race, family, stereotypes, tips to manage their health and the benefits of speaking to others.
What can I do if I am worried about my mental health?
Keeping Well BLMK are here to listen to you and offer support. We offer a safe space to speak about your struggles and wellbeing needs and signpost to additional support. Reach out to a range of services listed in the useful contcats and organisations below or contact us:
There are mental health charities which offer a range of different types of support specifically aimed at men.
An annual event involving the growing of moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of men's health issues. Visit the Movember website.
The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)
CALM provides a helpline which offers confidential, anonymous and free support, information and signposting to people anywhere in the UK. The helpline is open 7 days a week, 5pm to midnight. You can find more information on The Calm Zone.
Available 24 hours a day to provide confidential and emotional support for peolpe who are experiencing feelings of distress, despair or suicidal thoughts. They can be contacted by telephone, email or letter. You can find more information on Samaritans.
Men's Mind Matter
Dedicated to the prevention of male suicide by building psychological resilience and emotional strength. You can find further resources about men’s mental health on Men's Minds Matter.
The Men's Shed Association
These are community spaces for men to connect, converse and create. This charity aims to reduce male isolation by bringing together like-minded people and having someone to share your worries with. You can find more information on The Men's Sheds Association.
Heads Up Guys
Website providing practical information on symptoms and risk factors for depression and how to combat it. It also provides a page where men are able to share their stories of recovery. You can find more information on Heads Up Guys.