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.

 

The Men’s Health Forum need your support

It’s tough for men to ask for help but if you don’t ask when you need it, things generally only get worse. So we’re asking.

In the UK, one man in five dies before the age of 65. If we had health policies and services that better reflected the needs of the whole population, it might not be like that. But it is. Policies and services and indeed men have been like this for a long time and they don’t change overnight just because we want them to.

It’s true that the UK’s men don’t have it bad compared to some other groups. We’re not asking you to ‘feel sorry’ for men or put them first. We’re talking here about something more complicated, something that falls outside the traditional charity fund-raising model of ‘doing something for those less fortunate than ourselves’. That model raises money but it seldom changes much. We’re talking about changing the way we look at the world. There is nothing inevitable about premature male death. Services accessible to all, a population better informed. These would benefit everyone - rich and poor, young and old, male and female - and that’s what we’re campaigning for.

We’re not asking you to look at images of pity, we’re just asking you to look around at the society you live in, at the men you know and at the families with sons, fathers and grandads missing.

Here’s our fund-raising page - please chip in if you can.