Call for 'man-friendly' mental health services

07/11/16 . News

The Men’s Health Forum has called for greater access to mental health services outside so-called ‘normal’ opening hours.

The demand follows a Mental Health Foundation research report which showed that men facing mental health challenges are less likely than women to seek medical support and less likely to tell friends and family. 

A third of women disclosed a mental health problem to a friend or loved one within a month compared to just a quarter of men. More than a third of men (35%) waited more than 2 years (or indeed never) disclosed a mental health problem to a friend or family member. This compared to 25% or women.

Welcoming the research Men’s Health Forum CEO Martin Tod said it shows that ‘we still need to do much more to encourage men to get help.’

Stigma at work

Martin stressed that change wasn’t just down to men. ‘Services need to change too. One thing that would make a difference is making sure men can access confidential mental health services out of hours so that they can get help without having to take time off work.’

Men’s Health Forum research shows that 34% of working-age men would be embarrassed or ashamed to take time off work for mental health issue such as anxiety or depression compared to only 13% for a physical injury.  Amongst men with existing mental health problems, the figure was 46%. Over half of men with mental health problems – 52% – were concerned that their employer would think worse of them.

Martin said: ‘when a recent report from the EHRC showed that men can end up earning 42% less if they have mental health issues, who can blame them for being concerned?

‘We have repeatedly heard from men that they are more likely to seek help if they know that that help is going to be confidential and, if necessary, anonymous. Mental health services need to change to reflect that.’

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It’s tough for men to ask for help but if you don’t ask when you need it, things generally only get worse. Especially during a major pandemic like Covid-19. So we’re asking.

Men appear more likely to get Covid-19 and far, far more likely to die from it. The Men's Health Forum are working hard pushing for more action on this from government, from health professionals and from all of us. Why are men more affected and what can we do about it? We need the data. We need the research. We need the action. Currently we're the only UK charity doing this - please help us.

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