More than four in ten of the UK’s unpaid carers are male

15/07/14 . News

More than four in ten (42%) of the UK’s unpaid carers are male, dispelling the stereotype that caring is a female issue, according to a new report from the Men's Health Forum and Carers Trust.

The report ‘Husband, Partner, Dad, Son, Carer?’ was commissioned to look into the experiences and needs of male carers and to help raise awareness of the fact that male carers may not be getting the Men's Health Forum & Carers Trust report Husband, Dad, Son, Boyfriend, Carer?support they need.

Martin Tod, chief executive of the Men’s Health Forum said: “The UK’s 2.5 million male carers have been ignored for too long. They make a vital contribution, but face real extra health and work challenges that aren’t always properly addressed. Employers need to recognise that men can be carers too – and health and social care services needs to do more to address the physical and mental health needs of male carers - especially the hidden carers who may not be known to the system. Both employers and health services need to do more to provide the tailored support that male carers need.” 

The report, which surveyed more than 600 male carers found that:

  • More than one in four male carers in employment would not describe or acknowledge themselves as a carer to others, meaning they may not get the support they need at work
  • Over half of the male carers (53%) surveyed felt that the needs of male carers were different to those of female carers, many citing that men find it harder to ask for help and support and that balancing work and caring is challenging, particularly if they are the main earner.

Work and mental health

  • One quarter (26.3%) of men surveyed cared for more than 60 hours per week and worked<
  • Four in ten male carers said that they never had a break from their caring role
  • 56% of male carers aged 18-64 said being a carer had a negative impact on their mental health and 55% said that their health was “fair or poor”
  • Male carers not working due to their caring role, or who are unemployed felt especially isolated.

This project is part of the Men's Health Forum's work as a strategic partner of the Department of Health, NHS England and Public Health England.

Read more on the 'Husband, Partner, Dad, Son, Carer?' report's recommendations and download the executive summary or full report.