Challenging stigma during Men’s Health Week

Discussing mental health

Men’s mental health is a key area of campaigning for organisations like Richmond Fellowship.

Research * shows a great disparity in the ways men and women approach mental ill health or dealing with a mental health crisis with women more likely to turn to others for help or access services from their GP.

For Men’s Health Week we’re drawing attention to men who live with mental health problems.

One in four people will be diagnosed with a mental health condition during their lifetime, ranging from depression and anxiety to a full mental health crisis.

However, women are more likely to come forward and seek help with their conditions with men statistically three times as likely to turn to alcohol and drug dependency, an area our partners Aquarius and CAN specialise in. Suicide is the biggest cause of death for men under the age of 35 with 78% of suicides carried out by men.

Throughout Men’s Health Week we’re encouraging men to come forward and talk about their mental health. At a session held in Liverpool, men who have accessed services provided by Richmond Fellowship sat down to talk about mental health and how it impacts their lives (names have been changed for anonymity).

James said: “Being a man with mental health problems is hard; masculinity and pride affect men and prevent them from feeling able to open up and get help for their problems.”

Simon agreed saying: “Stigma remains a big problem for mental health sufferers, especially men. Traditionally we’re told to be strong and stoic, to display the British ‘stiff upper lip’, but that just leads to men bottling up their feelings and turning to drink, drugs and suicide. More needs to be done to encourage people to come forward.”

Men's Health Week

Mental ill health amongst men is a major factor in the number of prison inmates living with mental health conditions. In the UK, men make up 95% of the prisoner population with 72% of male prisoners living with at least two mental health conditions. Richmond Fellowship works with offenders living with mental health problems to aid their recovery.

And with men having measurably lower access to the social support of friends, relatives and the community, it’s vital that Men’s Health Week is used as an opportunity to reach out to men living with mental health problems.

Derek Caren, chief executive of Richmond Fellowship, said: “The statistics surrounding men and mental health are eye opening. It’s well documented that men approach mental health problems in a different way to women, and this approach is leading to greater numbers of men depending on alcohol and drugs or taking their own lives.

“During Men’s Health Week we’re calling on men to share their experiences of mental health and help tackle the stigma surrounding it. We’re also calling on men who are living with mental ill health to come forward and seek appropriate help.”

*Figures and information taken from Men’s Health Forum: 

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