Today Mind and the Men’s Health Forum (MHF) launch the first ever set of guidelines addressing the mental health needs of men and boys, which aim to improve mental health care and services for the male population in England.
2.7 million men in England currently have a mental health problem like depression, anxiety or stress (1) and their situations have in recent years been exacerbated by the tough economic climate. Mind has previously found that 37% of men are feeling worried or low with the top three issues playing on their minds being job security, work and money.
Despite men and women experiencing mental health problems in roughly equal numbers, men are much less likely to be diagnosed and treated for it. The consequences of this can be fatal: 75% of all suicides are by men. (3)
Delivering Male was commissioned by the National Mental Health Development Unit following last year’s MHF report Untold Problems and Mind’s 2009 campaign on men’s mental health, Get it off your Chest . Both highlighted that men face mental health difficulties which differ to those of women and that men’s needs are not being effectively met. There has also been no national men’s mental health strategy to mirror the one established for women.
Some of the issues identified by the MHF and Mind which are addressed in Delivering Male include:
Men self stigmatise and many are embarrassed to admit to themselves or others that they have a mental health problem.
This makes it much harder for them to ask for help for example from their GP or friends and family.
Men often don’t display the traditional symptoms of depression (sleepless nights, crying, feeling low) and are more likely to ‘act out’ (taking drugs, drinking, being aggressive) which means their problems can be overlooked or misdiagnosed.
The need for ‘male-friendly’ treatments, gender neutral health settings and mental health awareness advertising direct to men.
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said:
"Sadly too many men wrongly believe that admitting mental distress makes them weak, and this kind of self stigma can prevent them from seeking help and ultimately can cost lives. Compounding this alarming situation though is the fact that often when men do reach out for help the appropriate support is not there for them.
I hope that these new guidelines will help to improve mental health care for men and boys by spreading examples of good practice and innovative ideas to those who come into contact with men with mental health problems. It is vital that more services are developed which are tailored to the needs of men and that these are effectively promoted to encourage men to access mental health support early on in their experience of distress."
Peter Baker, Chief Executive of Men’s Health Forum said:
"It is well established now that men and boys have specific mental health needs. These guidelines have been drawn up based on a very wide evidence base and do an excellent job of covering many of the issues around men’s experience of mental distress, from how to improve men’s awareness of their mental health right through to indentifying and addressing male-specific symptoms, in some cases at an early age.
The in depth guidelines have been developed following extensive consultation and offer good practice advice on areas such as developing appropriate services, dealing with stigma and supporting male inpatients. The report is available free online and printed copies are available to buy. It is targeted at a wide audience, ranging from health professionals and commissioners to the families of men affected by mental distress."
1. The Health & Social Care Information Centre, (2009), Adult psychiatric morbidity in England, Results of a household survey
2. Office for National Statistics (2009), Suicides.
For more information, interviews or case studies please contact the Mind media team.
T: 020 8522 1743
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Public Mental Health