*Disclaimer: This article contains information and statistics about suicide. If you are struggling with your own mental health, please do reach out for support from friends, family, via your GP or charities such as the Samaritans.*
Mental health issues can affect us all, however there are alarming statistics on its significant effect on men. Friday 19th November is International Men’s Day and this year, it’s about making a positive difference to the wellbeing and lives of men; promoting a positive conversation about men, manhood and masculinity and raising awareness and funds for charities that support the wellbeing of men.
In some industries, mental health issues are even more prevalent. In the construction industry, we lose 2 workers every day to suicide. You can hear more about their stories in this video.
What are some of the issues affecting men’s wellbeing?
We know that men often find it difficult to talk about any feelings or issues that are affecting them. Throughout history, there has been an expectation for men to hide their emotions. Phrases such as “man up” or “boys don’t cry” were commonplace in society and in some respects, they still exist today. This has led to some alarming statistics:
- Three times as many men as women die by suicide
- Three quarters of suicides in the UK are men
- Men are less likely to seek access to therapy where they can talk about their feelings and emotions
- Men are far more likely to become dependant on alcohol or drugs as a coping mechanism
As well as these effects on mental health and wellbeing, men are more likely to experience additional struggles too. A shocking 87% of rough sleepers in the UK are men, three quarters of missing adults are men, they are 1.5 times more likely to be victims of physical violence and men between 40-49 have the highest suicide rates in the UK.
Sometimes, men don’t realise that they are struggling with their mental health due to their environment or working conditions. Dave’s story below is just one example of this, and how he found support. If you are struggling with your own mental health, please do reach out for support from friends, family, via your GP or charities such as the Samaritans.
Clearly, something has to change.
Positive change is happening
Thankfully, the narrative around men's mental health has started to shift in recent years, with more focus on promoting men speaking up about their feelings, seeking support and changing the narrative that men should hide their emotions to appear more masculine. Friday 19th November is a day where we give men’s issues that bit more focus and to support men everywhere to seek support and help if they are struggling with their mental health, physical health or their wellbeing. As Prime Minister, Boris Johnson says, “This International Men’s Day, let us recognise and celebrate the incredible contribution that men and boys make to our society – and make sure that they are not alone to suffer in silence”.
How you can help to support men
Beyond International Men’s Day, men should feel that they are able to speak up about their mental wellbeing and emotions. This is especially prevalent at work, where the impression you make on your colleagues is seen as important.
In your workplace, start by being observant and creating a safe space for men to talk about any issues they are having. A lot of men will suffer in silence, so it’s important to notice any subtle changes in personality and behaviour. If your colleague starts being more secluded, begins turning down social activities more than usual, seems more stressed or unhappy during team meetings or seems overwhelmed at work - these can be just some of the signs they are struggling with their mental health. Try to talk to them, ask twice whether they are okay and reassure them that you’re there to listen, but also respect their boundaries. If they don’t want to talk but you are still worried about them, speak to their manager or HR anonymously and get them to check on them.
There are also a number of charities that are working to change the stigma on men showing emotions and are supporting men and boys with their mental wellbeing. You can support these charities by donating to them or creating your own fundraising events. You can find a list of charities to support by clicking here.
At Randstad, we create a safe space for everyone to speak up about their mental health and wellbeing. Not only do we have ongoing wellbeing support, content for managing mental health and flex@randstad to maintain a healthy work/life harmony; but we have our Employee Assistance Program where our people can talk about any issue at all that is affecting them.
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