Two in five men avoid talking about mental health worries

The charity Samaritans has launched a campaign to encourage men to seek help if they have a mental health worry rather than try to overcome the issues they are struggling with themselves.

Two in five men aged 20-59 do not seek help for a mental health concern when they need to, attempting to overcome the issues themselves instead.

Other reasons for avoiding talking about their worries included not wanting to feel like a burden on those they opened up to and feeling like their problems will not be understood.

Male mental health has been in the spotlight this month following the suicide of Love Island star Mike Thalassitis.

The Samaritans poll of 3,000 men highlighted that some of the most common concerns among respondents included debt or financial worries (36%), relationship breakdown or family problems (30%), loneliness or isolation (29%) and job loss or work-related problems (25%).

Samaritans claimed that men in the UK are three times more likely to take their own life than women, with middle-aged men at the greatest risk of suicide.

“Our survey results found that although 78% of men aged 20-59 say it’s okay to admit you’re not feeling okay, many still avoid speaking out when they’re finding life tough. A quarter felt their problems weren’t important enough to warrant calling a helpline, which is one of the reasons this awareness campaign is so important,” said Paul McDonald, executive director of external affairs at Samaritans.

Its campaign with National Rail, Real People, Real Stories, uses stories from men who have overcome tough times to encourage others to ask for help when they need it.

McDonald added: “At Samaritans we understand the value of talking and the power of human connection. Just two people talking can really help that person to stop, breathe and start to see a way through their problems.”

A report on men’s mental health from think-tank The Work Foundation noted that there is a need to look at mental health support “through a male lens” by offering support for both mental and physical health concerns through the same service. This, it said, would take the focus away from an area that men are often reluctant to talk about.

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