Why talking about men’s mental health is so important
At any one time, 12.5% of men in the UK report having a mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety. The actual number will likely be significantly higher than this, as many cases will go undiagnosed due to men often struggling with being honest about their mental health.
To make matters worse, 40% of men in a survey said that it would take thoughts of suicide or self-harm for them to seek help for their mental health. That is an incredibly high number of men who would wait until they are actively in a mental health crisis before reaching out for support.
In the UK, the biggest killer of men under 45 is suicide. This needs to change, and it starts with us, talking about men’s mental health.
Why do men struggle to talk about mental health?
Even today, men still face, or fear the social stigma around talking about mental health.
Many men want to be seen as strong, which means not having, or certainly not admitting any problems.
This is a trap, as it means men often end up facing their problems alone, which puts more pressure on them, which makes their mental health worse, creating a dangerous cycle which can cause lasting harm.
If we want things to change, we need to make men feel safer and more confident in talking about mental health. There are some fantastic TV shows, podcasts, and social media influencers who are helping to make this a reality, but we all have a part to play.
What can you find on this page?
This page contains helplines and websites you can visit if you need urgent mental health support, or want further information on mental health issues.
It contains tips for how to talk to men about their mental health, including ways to help them feel comfortable talking about issues they may find difficult.
It also contains information on local mental health services we provide, where you or a man you know can go to get support.
Lastly, it contains further resources, like blogs, videos, and books that might be of interest to you, or anyone wanting to learn more about mental health.
Our Mental Health Services:
If you’re struggling with your mental health, we have services that can help.
Safe Space is our service for anyone who needs mental health advice, support, or just a chat. Talk to us in person, or online, with appointments and drop-in times.
Compass is our service for anyone who needs help navigating social issues like housing, benefits, and debt.
Circle is our service for children and young people who need mental health support, and acts as a dedicated place for young people to go where they can be themselves, be honest, and get the support they need.
Urgent help now
If you are having suicidal thoughts, are thinking of self-harming, or if you have already self-harmed, you need urgent medical help.
Call 999 or go straight to A&E, if you can
For adults living in Hammersmith, Fulham, Ealing or Hounslow call the Mental Health Single Point of Access on 0800 328 4444
Your GP can also be contacted by phone if you need immediate help. Outside of surgery hours you can call NHS Direct for more guidance on 111. The service is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you can’t do this by yourself, ask someone to help you. Mental health emergencies are serious. You’re not wasting anyone’s time, and there are people in your life who will want to help.
Other Mental Health Services:
Call 116 123
Text 07725 90 90 90
Email [email protected]
Call 0800 1111
Open 7.30am to 3.30am everyday
Call 0800 58 58 58
Open 5pm-midnight 365 days a year
Papyrus (for people under 35)
Call 0800 068 4141
Email [email protected]
Open 9am – midnight everyday
Other organisations you may want to contact are:
How to access mental health services through the NHS
Mind is the UK’s leading mental health charity, and has information on all areas of mental health.
We’re the local Mind for Hammersmith and Fulham, Ealing, and Hounslow, and we’re here for anyone with a mental health issue.
Switchboard provides mental health specifically for LGBTQIA+ people.
Respect helps men who are dealing with abuse or domestic violence.
Relate helps anyone dealing with relationship issues impacting their mental health.
Cruse provide bereavement support for anyone dealing with grief.
How to reach out to a male friend or family member
Men don’t always find it easy or comfortable to talk about themselves, or how they’re really doing. If you think someone you know is struggling, there are ways you can try to reach out so that they open up, feel supported, and can start to get help if they need it.
Start by asking how he’s feeling. It’s worth mentioning any changes you’ve picked up on. Maybe he’s spending more time at the bar, has gone quiet in the group chat, or isn’t turning up to social events. Whatever it is, he’s just not himself.
Use a prompt like:
“You haven’t seemed yourself lately – are you feeling OK?”
Trust your instinct. Remember, people often say “I’m fine” when they’re not, so don’t be afraid to ask twice.
You can use something specific you’ve noticed, like:
“It’s just that you haven’t been replying to my texts, and that’s not like you.”
Give him your full attention. Let him know you’re hearing what he’s saying and you’re not judging. You don’t have to diagnose problems or offer solutions, but asking questions lets him know you’re listening, and giving him the space to be truly honest.
Ask a question like:
“That can’t be easy – how long have you felt this way?”
Help him focus on simple things that might improve how he feels. Is he getting enough sleep? Is he exercising and eating well? Maybe there’s something that’s helped him in the past that he could try again.
Suggest that he share how he’s feeling with others he trusts, to help widen his support network. And if he’s felt low for more than two weeks, suggest that he chat to his doctor.
Sometimes, just taking any kind of action can help us start to feel better, as it reminds us that we’re actively able to make a difference in our own lives.
Suggest you catch up soon – ideally in person if you can. If you can’t manage a meet-up, make time for a call, or drop him a message. This helps to show that you care. You’ll also get a feel for whether he’s feeling any better, or if he might need additional support.
Wellbeing West London is our mental health directory website. You can find local mental health support near you.
My Mind TV is our video website where you can find videos on mental health techniques, explanations of common mental health issues, and more.
Our blog is a great place to go for quick and simple mental health tips, as well as learning more about what we do and how we can help.
Books, Videos, and Further Reading:
Reasons to Stay Alive: A memoir by Matt Haig sharing his experiences with depression and how he learned to manage his illness.
Here is a great collection of videos on men’s mental health, talking about everything from anxiety to suicide awareness.
The Mental Health Foundation has many blogs and podcast episodes on men’s mental health, where you can hear lived experience from men who have dealt with stress, anxiety, anger, and depression.
If you are ever struggling, remember that there are people around you who can help, and who want to help. You aren’t wasting anyone’s time. You aren’t a burden. Things can get better.