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Men's Healthcare Q4 2021

Getting the right support for men

iStock / Getty Images Plus / g-stockstudio

Vicki Ensor

Senior Policy and Campaigns Officer, Mind

Men’s attitudes to mental health are changing for the better. But are we offering them the right options when they reach out for support?

As part of Mind’s charity partnership with the English Football League, we looked at the changes in men’s mental health over a 10-year span. The findings show that, while there have been improvements in men’s attitudes to seeking help, when they do reach out services that meet their needs are still not widely available.

The number of men who said they would see their GP if they felt anxious or low for more than two weeks increased from under a quarter (23%) in 2009 to over a third (35%) in 2019, which is equal to women. Men are also three times more likely to see a therapist when worried or low than they were 10 years ago. This may reflect that notions of masculinity and the ‘stiff upper lip’ stereotype are starting to change, as it becomes more acceptable to ask for help.

Men are also three times more likely to see a therapist when worried or low than they were 10 years ago.

Challenges currently facing men

It’s just as well that more men feel able to seek help considering the range of social and economic pressures they currently face. 

Unemployment can have more of a negative effect on the mental health of men. Economic instability caused by the pandemic as well as a rise in the ‘gig economy’ mean that it is no surprise that we found that job security is affecting one in five (20%) men’s mental health.

Body image was also highlighted as something men worry about more now, particularly younger men. One in five (19%) 18-24 year old men specifically say that social media has caused them to worry about how they look.

What support do men want?

We found that men are most likely to prefer being prescribed face-to-face therapy, physical activity or a social activity by their GP as alternatives to medication. They also said that the top things that would make it easier to seek help included: support and information available online, anonymity, help being available at more convenient times of day, and help being available outside of GP surgeries and other clinical settings.

As we emerge from the pandemic, it is vital that we don’t miss the opportunity to re-evaluate the way the NHS delivers services for men to ensure the right variety of choice available based on men’s needs.

Click here to see the full ‘Get It Off Your Chest’ report

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