Why 40% of men won't talk about their own mental health
Following International Men’s Day 2015, Priory commissioned a survey of 1,000 men to uncover men’s attitudes towards their own mental health. It is now Men's Health Awareness Month 2018, and our findings seem just as relevant now as they were then.
- 77% of men polled have suffered with anxiety/stress/depression
- The biggest pressures in men’s life are work (32%), finance (31%) and health (23%)
- The majority of men claim their mental health is having a negative impact on their work performance, parenting ability and relationships in particular
- 40% of men polled said it would take thoughts of suicide or self-harm to compel them to seek professional help
- What are the biggest causes of pressure in your life?
- What areas of your life does your mental health impact upon?
- Who do you talk to about your mental health?
- Why would you not talk about your mental health?
- Would you talk to a professional about your mental health?
Men’s preferred confidant
The results showed that 66% would share their feelings with their partner above anyone else.
The reasons men don’t talk about their mental health:
- ‘I’ve learnt to deal with it’ (40%)
- ‘I don’t wish to be a burden to anyone’ (36%)
- ‘I’m too embarrassed’ (29%)
- ‘There’s negative stigma around this type of thing’ (20%)
- ‘I don’t want to admit I need support’ (17%)
- ‘I don’t want to appear weak’ (16%)
- ‘I have no one to talk to’ (14%)
Almost one quarter (22%) of respondents said they would not feel comfortable even speaking to a GP or any other professional; the main reason being that they worry it will waste their GP’s time, even though these mental health statistics highlight that every 1 in 8 male will experience mental health problems in their lifetime.
It is interesting that the survey identified that men worry about wasting their GP’s time with these sorts of problems. It does need to be made clear that depression and anxiety are perfectly legitimate reasons to seek medical care; after all, GP's spend about 30% of their time dealing with psychological issues. These UK anxiety statistics also highlight that mixed anxiety and depression affects every 8 in 100 people, so seeking treatment is nothing to be embarrassed about.
Work related stress and financial concerns
Respondents were asked about the biggest causes of pressure in their life. Work related pressure came top of the list at 32%. This was followed closely by financial pressures at 31% and health concerns at 23%.
A more seasonal pressure felt predominantly by men aged 35-44 years of age, is the pending cost of Christmas – also a more popular concern felt by those living in London.
The importance of talking about mental health
Generally speaking, men make up about 40% of the patients being treated for depression and anxiety at Priory.
The survey highlighted that for 40% of men, it would take thoughts of suicide or self-harm to compel them to seek professional help, but thankfully, there are crisis support options available that can help someone when they're at their lowest.
Encouragingly, 60% of men polled have shared their feelings of anxiety with someone at some point. Based on the 77% who admit to suffering mental health issues however, there remains a number of men living in the UK who feel unable to speak to a friend or professional about potentially serious symptoms.