Supporting Men’s Mental Well-Being
Challenges Faced by Men
Throughout history, men have been conditioned to hide their emotions, adhering to the societal notion that "big boys don't cry" and projecting an image of strength and stoicism. Consequently, many men live with the fear of being perceived as weak or inadequate if they express vulnerability. This deeply ingrained belief has had a detrimental impact, preventing men from openly sharing their struggles and seeking the assistance they may desperately need.
Men may perceive reaching out for help as a sign of weakness or as a threat to their masculinity. This conditioning has created a culture of silence around men's mental health, where they often suffer in silence rather than seeking the support necessary for their well-being.
As a result, many men bear the weight of their challenges alone, without the necessary emotional support networks. This could lead to the potential adoption of detrimental coping strategies involving drugs and/or alcohol.(3) Furthermore, this isolation can worsen mental health issues and lead to a sense of hopelessness. Tragically, even at this juncture, many men refrain from seeking support, falling further into depression and contemplating or engaging in suicidal thoughts and actions.
After researching multiple mental health articles available online, a clear pattern emerges, highlighting a substantial contrast between male and female suicide rates. The data presents a troubling trend, indicating that roughly three-quarters of suicides are carried out by males.(3) In 2021, specifically, male suicides accounted for approximately three-quarters of the total number, resulting in 4,129 deaths (74.0%). These figures align with long-term patterns and equate to a rate of 16.0 deaths per 100,000.(4)
As discussed previously, research also shows that men are less likely to access mental health support when needed than women.(1) According to data from NHS Digital, approximately only one-third (33%) of referrals to Talking Therapies are made for men. While I cannot provide specific statistical evidence, it is reasonable to assume that a comparable pattern may be seen in the use of other professional services like counselling.
Around three-quarters of suicides were males (4,129 deaths; 74.0%), consistent with long-term trends and equivalent to 16.0 deaths per 100,000.
Latest statistics show that the number of men accessing talking therapies in 2022 was only 33% of all referrals for that year.
Men aged 45-64 have the highest rate of suicide by age.
This trend can only be tackled by raising awareness and challenging stereotypes. The increasing publicity surrounding men's mental health has led to improved awareness, but there is still much work to be done. It is, in my view, crucial to implement education programs in schools that specifically address the importance of discussing mental health among young and adolescent males. Simultaneously, community events and public discussions can allow men to share their experiences and stories. Social media platforms can also play a significant role in promoting discussions, providing resources, and challenging the stigma surrounding men's mental health concerns. By utilising these formats, we can continue to raise awareness and create a supportive environment for everyone.
Creating safe spaces
Further to this, the establishment of safe spaces becomes essential. These spaces can take various forms, including support groups or therapy sessions, as well as online communities that offer anonymity and accessibility. Providing empathy, active listening, and understanding within these spaces, men can be empowered to express their emotions, form meaningful connections, and develop effective coping strategies. Together, through the combined efforts of education, community engagement, and the creation of safe spaces, we can make significant strides in normalizing conversations about men's mental health and cultivating a supportive environment for all individuals.
Thank you for reading.
If you're currently seeking help and support, I encourage you to use the provided links below to reach out to these organisations. However, if you're seeking professional support or wish to explore further information regarding my approach to men's mental health, please feel free to contact me at www.growth-counselling.com