Camberley, Surrey (PRWEB UK) 11 June 2013
Led by the Men’s Health Forum (MHF), this week marks Men’s Health Week 2013, the main aim of which is to tackle stigma in men’s mental health.
According to the MHF three in every four people who kill themselves are male, which is why this week men up and down the country are being challenged to speak out about depression and mental health so that they can be diagnosed and treated professionally.
Unfortunately, gender stereotyping along with society pressures and various other factors have led many men to believe that admitting to depression, mental health issues or experiencing suicidal thoughts makes them weak – which is perhaps why despite men and women experiencing mental health issues in approximately even numbers, men are far less likely to be diagnosed and treated for them.
Depression is a huge taboo among men, and the MHF are trying to highlight how there are a whole host of embarrassing subjects out there that men would be more likely to admit to than a mental health problem and it really shouldn’t be that way.
To highlight this growing concern, the MHF have put together some statistics that shed some light on the real truth behind men and mental health:
- 75% of all suicides are by men, with more men dying by suicide than in road traffic accidents.
- 73% of people who go missing are men.
- According to the Health & Social Care Information Centre 2009 household survey, around 2.7 million men in England are currently suffering from a mental health issue such as depression.
- 33% of men are regularly consuming potentially harmful levels of alcohol and two-thirds of drink related deaths are male.
- Research carried out by mental health charity Mind found that 37% of men feel worried or low, with the top three concerns being job security, work and money.
Chief executive of the MHF, Martin Tod, said:
“Suicide is the unspoken killer taking the lives of far too many men. Many men suffer alone or seek solace in drink. We have to find ways to make it easier for men to talk about their health before it’s too late. If all men could talk about how they were feeling with confidence, I don’t think we’d be looking at horrific figures like these. Whatever the problem, your GP has heard it before. And these days there are telephone and online options too. Don’t bottle it up.”
So what is being done?
As part of the week, MHF have joined forces with mental health charity Mind to produce the first ever set of guidelines addressing the mental health needs of men and boys.
The “Delivering Male” guidelines, which were commissioned by the National Mental Health Development Unit, hope to improve mental health care for men and boys by promoting examples of good practice.
Practical Advice and Tips for Men
The guidelines are an excellent resource for those working within the healthcare industry, but what advice is out there for the men themselves?
Online support network Counselling Directory have always championed the strength of talk therapies among other interventions, and have put together the following list of practical tips for men in distress:
1. Reevaluate your lifestyle
There is plenty of evidence out there that suggests men lead unhealthier lives than women. From higher alcohol consumption through to an increased likelihood of drug misuse, longer working hours, an unhealthier diet and generally a larger waistline – if you are a male and are feeling low then a starting point would certainly be to take a step back and look at your lifestyle.
A healthy lifestyle has long since been associated with an increased sense of well-being and mood. Ensure that you maintain a balanced diet, reasonable alcohol consumption and daily exercise and you’ll find that it won’t be just your physical health that will reap the benefits – your mental health will too.
2. Non-verbal interventions
In life, some individuals are doers and not talkers, so a therapy such a counselling just isn’t going to suit all personalities. If this is the case, getting involved in social activities such as sport, group trips and clubs can also be effective. Networking with new people in a non-threatening and non-pressured environment can not only lead to enjoyment and thus improved well-being, but also provides an opportunity for men to share their problems if they feel comfortable doing so.
3. Talk to a counsellor
Whilst some men will prefer to try alternatives before turning to talk therapy, verbal interventions such as counselling have been proven extremely beneficial in helping individuals to understand and explore depression, suicidal thoughts and various other mental health concerns.
Much research has shown that men would like access to psychological therapies but have found it difficult either because they lacked information or because of long waiting lists. Both of these stumbling blocks however, can now be a thing of the past.
Counselling Directory is an online support network featuring a plethora of information about talk therapies, as well as a database of experienced counsellors and psychotherapists.
The service is completely confidential and offers the following tools:
- What can counselling help with – A comprehensive library of fact-sheets on all of the different areas in which counselling may be beneficial, including individual pages on suicidal thoughts, depression and mental health.
- Facts and figures – Industry facts and figures including a page dedicated to men and mental health.
- Counsellor and psychotherapist database – A countrywide database of private counsellors and psychotherapists, all of whom can be contacted via telephone or email with many offering online or telephone appointments for men who don’t feel comfortable attending face-to-face sessions.
For any men suffering from a mental health problem, visiting Counselling Directory today could be the first step towards a brighter happier future.