Mental health

The mental health charity 'Mind' have published a report which explores how men’s mental health has changed between 2009 and 2019, and the kind of challenges that men have been facing in more recent times. To read the full report, click here.

Below, we have noted some of the key findings:

Two in five men (43%) admit to regularly feeling worried or low, an increase from 37% in 2009
Men are now almost three times more likely to see a therapist when worried or low than in 2009
The number of men who have suicidal thoughts when feeling worried or low has doubled to 10% since 2009

Factors impacting men's mental health

Mental health difficulties can be brought on by a range of different situations or experiences. The Mind report includes information on the following three factors which men have reported as having an impact on their mental health:

Work and unemployment
Physical appearance
Social media

Whilst there is research to suggest that men are becoming more willing to seek help for their mental health, it is likely that traditional masculine values, stigma and not knowing where to go for support still play important roles in why men are less likely than women to seek help from the NHS for a mental health problem.

Pressure for me to be ‘masculine’ started at a young age with my family and carried on when I went to school and then work… I was always told to ‘man up’. Jay, Mind in Harrow focus group participant
Healthy vs unhealthy coping strategies

Psychological diet: What we feed our minds is just as important as what we feed our bodies. So, in the same way that eating nutritious food can help us to have healthy bodies, being aware of our lifestyle choices/coping strategies and how they affect how we feel, can help us to have healthy minds.

Men are more likely to turn to unhealthy coping strategies when feeling low or worried. As with food, feeding our minds with these unhealthy choices may not do us too much harm in the short term, but if continued can become more damaging to our mental health in the long run.



Healthy food for the mind:

Exercise - has been shown to have positive impacts on both mental and physical health. It can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as improve sleep quality and energy levels. For more information/resources on physical exercise, click here.

Socialising and group activities - humans are social beings, and feeling connected to one another has been found to have a positive impact on our mental health. There are lots of ways that we can achieve this, for example, through meeting up with friends, sharing hobbies together or joining team sports. You can find more information about this here.

Creating - creating something - be it art, music, carpentry or even cooking – can have a positive impact on our mental health. Getting creative requires focus and concentration, and allows someone to disconnect from the everyday worries and stressors we might have (read more here).

Mindfulness - paying more attention to the present moment – to your own thoughts and feelings, and to the world around you – can improve your mental wellbeing. Our mindfulness practitioner, Peter Helmer, runs some virtual mindfulness classes which you can find out more about by clicking here.

Spending time outdoors - research suggests that spending at least 2 hours a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing. It is also possible to combine time in nature with other mental health strategies such as exercise and physical activity. For more information (read more here).

Talking to someone - You do not have to go through any difficulties alone. If you would like to discuss how you have been feeling, and how we can support you with your mental health, please contact us via telephone, email, or our live chat platform which is available Monday-Friday between 9am and 5pm (click here for further informaiton). If you would like to refer yourself for talking therapy, please click here and complete our self referral form.

Unhealthy food for the mind:

Alcohol and drugs - both have been shown to increase the likelihood of developing a mental health condition, worsening existing symptoms and making symptoms harder to treat (read more here)

Smoking - research has shown that smoking increases anxiety and tension in the long term (read more here). There are also a variety of physical health risks associated with smoking.

Binge eating - regular binge eating can lead to feelings of embarrassment, guilt and shame. It can also lead to physical health difficulties as a result of weight gain (read more here).

Overworking - working long hours can have an impact on the quality of important areas of your life such as sleep, food/drink intake and relationships with friends and family. Chronic stress can also lead to both physical and mental health difficulties (read more here).

Excessive spending - this can develop into a habit that becomes hard to stop. It can lead to feelings of guilt and shame, and can potentially damage work life and relationships (read more here).

Risk-taking/addictive behaviours e.g. gambling, unsafe sex or pornography addiction - Risk taking behaviours can lead to a combination of difficulties. For example, if you are gambling you may find yourself feeling anxious/stressed or having financial difficulties (read more here) . If you are having unprotected sex you are risking pregnancy, sexually transmitted infection (STI), including HIV, and possibly stress (read more here). If you become addicted to sex/pornography then you may find that it becomes difficult for you to control urges or actions, despite the difficulties it may cause in your relationships, finances and professional life (read more here).

Men's own views and experiences

Curated by Ilyas Sagar-Ouriaghli, a NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research PhD Student, this film features interviews with five different men of all ages discussing their mental health. Topics covered include race, family, stereotypes, tips to manage their health and the benefits of speaking to others.



Further support and resources

HeadsUpGuys is an online resource that supports men in their fight against depression by providing tips, tools, information about professional services, and stories of success - https://headsupguys.org/

Club Drug Clinic is a free, confidential NHS service supporting people who want to change the way they are using recreational drugs. Their catchment area includes anyone living in Westminster or Kensington and Chelsea - https://www.clubdrugclinic.cnwl.nhs.uk/

The Men's Health Forum is a British registered charity whose mission is to improve the health of men and boys in England, Wales and Scotland - https://www.menshealthforum.org.uk/

Men's Mind Matters is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the prevention of male suicide by building psychological resilience and emotional strength. They are passionate about reducing suicide rates for men through the development and provision of psychological crisis interventions that prevent suicide - https://www.mensmindsmatter.org/
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