Published on: 30th November 2021
Why is male mental health important?
The Mental Health Foundation have gathered some statistics on Mental Health in males and as with many mental health statistics, we can only gather information on what is reported. Many cases of mental ill-health could go undiagnosed; however there are other signs that can help us gather a better picture:
- Three times as many males as women are reported to have ended their lives.
- Men report lower levels of life satisfaction than women according to the Government’s national wellbeing survey.
- Males are less likely to access therapy than females, with only 36% of the referrals to NHS talking therapies.
It is important to consider these statistics and why males may find it difficult to access therapy and talk about their mental health. There is a known stigma surrounding male mental health, with men and boys often feeling embarrassed about how they are feeling and thinking that they need to appear strong. This stigma is preventing males and young men from accessing support when they may need it most. You may have heard the following common phrases.
“Boys don’t cry”
“Just get on with it”
“Talking about mental health shows weakness”
We believe that boys do cry, that speak up is more beneficial than man up, that talking about mental health shows strength and bravery and that it is okay to not be okay!
There are some great things already in progress in relation to tackling the stigma around mental health in males any many high-profile figures have spoken out about their own struggles. Capital FM DJ and TV personality Roman Kemp has recently spoken out about his own struggles with mental health in a BBC documentary in which he explored the stigma around mental health. As well as Roman, other high-profile men have talked openly about their struggles, such as, international artist Stormzy, Football player Danny Rose and World Heavy weight Champion Tyson Fury. All of these men have started to challenge the stigma surrounding male mental health by opening up and talking about their struggles. This shows that it doesn’t matter who you are or what walk of life you come from, everyone can be affected by mental health. Mental health does NOT discriminate!
Taking care of yourself
If this all feels very familiar and you feel like you may need to access some support, there are some great support networks out there…
- The NHS - You can speak with your GP about how you feel and they can support you in accessing one of the children’s services available in the area. These are Healthy Minds, Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and Mental Health Support Teams (MHST in participating schools only).
- Children, young people, parents and carers can call the Lincolnshire Here4You line 24/7 on 0800 234 6342
- Young Minds are the UK’s leading charity fighting for children and young people's mental health. You can access their website at www.youngminds.org.uk
- Kooth provide various types on online support, from 1:1 chats to forums and advice You can access their website at www.Kooth.com
- You have probably heard of ChildLine before, but did you know they can support with mental health? You can access their website at www.childline.org.uk
You may not feel ready to reach out to professional services and that’s okay. Instead, you could speak with friends, family, parents/carers and teachers. Always make sure the person you speak to is someone you can trust. There are plenty of people available to support you and you will find that many of your peers will have similar experiences.
Self-care and the five steps to wellbeing
Self-care is an important aspect of managing our mental health positively. There are many ways you can do this. The five steps to wellbeing are a great place to start:
Connect with other people
Creating and maintaining good relationships is important for mental wellbeing. They can provide emotional support, help you build self-esteem and give you the opportunity to share positive experiences.
Be physically active
Being active is not only great for your physical health and fitness. Exercise and activity releases feel good chemicals in the brain that help to lift your mood. Being active can also help to build self-esteem.
Learn new skills
Learning new skills can help us to feel mentally well by helping to boost self-confidence and connecting us with other people.
Give to others
Giving and showing kindness to others can help improve our mental wellbeing as it helps us to connect with others and creates positive feelings. Even small acts of kindness can make a huge difference to someone.
Mindfulness is about paying attention to the moment. Mindfulness can help you to enjoy life and understand yourself better.
Self-care activities may also include getting enough sleep and a starting a bedtime routine, relaxation exercises, and taking a break to do things that you enjoy.
How to start a conversation about mental health
Sometimes we can see that someone in our lives is struggling but we are unsure on how to approach them. That person may not be ready to talk yet or they may be waiting for someone to reach out to them. Here are some tips on how to start a conversation with someone if you are concerned about their mental wellbeing.
You could ask open questions such as:
Is there anything you would like to talk about?
How are you feeling?
Is there anything I can do to help?
I have noticed that you don’t seem yourself lately, is everything okay?
Make it clear that you are here if they would like to talk, now or anytime. Sharing your own feelings and experiences may also encourage someone to open up if they feel they are in a safe space and can be understood. Take the time to listen and empathise with them instead of trying to ‘fix’ their problems or judge them for their choices.
If you are really concerned about a friend or loved one, then it is a good idea to talk to a trusted adult about your concerns.