Men’s Health and Mental Health

The statistics prove that for some mental health problems, men are affected disproportionately more than women. The traditional, cultural and stereotypical views about masculinity and the characteristics of being male and ‘manly’ can be very damaging to mental health.

In the blog, we explore the statistics for men’s mental health, discuss the stigma associated with mental health, try to shine a light on why men’s mental health matters and discuss ways to help.

Men’s Mental Health in Numbers

Of the approximate 6000 suicides that occur each year in England and Wales, three-quarters are among men. This disproportion has been the same since the mid-1990s. However, statistics show that is not just suicide that affects men disproportionately, when it comes to common mental health concerns and related situations.

Statistics from the Mental Health Foundation show:

  • Three quarters of all suicides are men
  • Three quarters of people who go missing are men
  • 87% of rough sleepers are men
  • It’s three times more likely that those who become dependent on alcohol and report frequent drug use are men
  • There are increasing rates of self harm and mental health problems in prison and the majority of the prison population are men
  • Only one third of referrals to NHS talking therapies are men.


Men are more likely to be affected by a range of situations and triggers which can contribute to mental health issues and suffer stress, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and more. Yet, the statistics also show very few access support or help.

men's mental health

Men and Mental Health Stigmas

There is support available to all, but why do so many men refuse to make use of it?

Whilst the pandemic has a lot to answer for, for both sexes, the stigma associated with mental health issues and men is also very prevalent.

From the term ‘man up’ to the references of weakness being associated with the female sex, such as ‘being a sissy’ or ‘crying like a girl’, insults aimed at boys and men throughout their lives, there is a perception that admitting to struggling or having any form of mental health problem is to be avoided.

The association of ‘weakness’ with ‘concerns regarding mental health’ is something The Holistic Healthcare Group is passionate to separate. Ironically, so often a physical injury, such as breaking a leg or getting concussion, is seen as ‘macho’ and ‘cool’, and also met with care and compassion, whereas mental illness, receives no such positive embrace….yet!

Toxic Masculinity

Thankfully, with growing discussions about what ‘masculinity’ really means, the better understanding around LGBTQ+, the use of pronouns and the discussions around gender fluidity, more individuals can identify how best suits them…and only them.

However, the stereotypes and cultural traditions of being ‘male’ and ‘masculine’ are still prevalent and, in the case of mental health, can be damaging.

Many men have still been brought up to think they should suppress their emotions. They believe being emotional, especially sad emotions, is a feminine trait and equates to weakness. Often acting in this way and suppressing feeling can leads to those men really struggling with mental health problems later down the line. This is when the traditional ideas of masculinity can be toxic. They affect an individual’s personality, his ability to make connections and can lead to characteristics of aggression and being controlling.

Read more about Toxic Masculinity and Mental Health

This form of masculinity can also cause huge barriers to men asking for help. This perception that they must be completely self-reliant and ‘know all the answers’, reduces the likelihood of them seeking help or support.

Men’s Health Week

From 13th-19th June 2022, it’s Men’s Health Week. And as the statistics and culture of masculinity discussed above shows, it is incredibly important to shine a light on men and their health, at this time.

The theme this year is on having an ‘MOT’. Just like a car, we should regularly be evaluating our health and ensuring we are still ‘road worthy’.

The Men’s Health Forum have developed a Haynes style manual  and whilst it guides men to evaluate all areas of their physical health and lifestyle, it is also includes a section called “How’s your head?”, offering “14 key questions to monitor your wellbeing”.

Physical and mental health should be treated so much more equally and it’s great to see Men’s Health Week being used to raise awareness in social media and beyond, not only for physical well-being but mental health too.

Men’s Mental Health Matters

At The Holistic Healthcare Group, we believe passionately about educating and helping all – men and women.  We also understand that a ‘one size fits all’ approach does not work.

People…individuals…have different mental health needs and need different types of support depending on many factors, including gender, lifestyle and what they are coping or struggling with.

Breaking down barriers and addressing stigmas in mental health, specifically for men, is so important – especially when you evaluate the statistics. Each number is an actual person.

But, what can be done to support men and their mental health?

…through society and culture

We are definitely heading in the right direction. With recent TV documentaries by Prince William and also Freddie Flintoff talking about mental health issues and also organisations, such as ManUp , more and more conversations about men and mental health are happening.

There is more that can be done, however, to stop reinforcing the ‘boys don’t cry’ sentiments of the past. In the media, on TV, in films, how men do suffer with mental health problems needs to be more visible.

…through offering therapies that suit

Every man is individual and it is important not to stereotype, but the statistics do suggest that a higher proportion of men, than women, find talking more difficult and do not feel drawn towards talking therapies, such as counselling or psychotherapy.

It is important in our schools, businesses and local organisations that there is education about all of the different therapies available – including alternatives to talking therapies.

…through mental health education and support

Education about mental health – ideally before serious problems occur – could offer men the chance to adopt a more positive attitude towards seeking help. This education needs to be broad: understanding the toxicity the stereotypical ideas of masculinity can have; seeing evidence of other men having mental health issues, facing these issues and dealing with them; being made aware of how ‘it’s ok not to feel ok’; and, importantly, learning about tools and methods that can help well-being more generally.

Making mental health support appealing to men

Melp App and Men’s Mental Health

Whilst the Melp App  may not be able to instantly reduce suicides or alcohol dependency figures, what has been a really positive outcome of the app is the engagement with the app by men.

The app is ‘private’ – it allows those who still harbour concerns about admitting mental health concerns to access support, guidance, tools and more. It allows them to discover and learn about different approaches without having to ask. Importantly, for all, it supports general well-being and self-care practices at a touch of a button.

Breaking down any barriers to individuals getting support is vital. Making any form of therapy or support attractive and ‘not scary’ is also key. And finally, we need to ensure that men who seek mental health support can do so – in their own time and at their own pace.

For more information or if you have any concerns about your own mental health or that of a man in your life, do get in touch.

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