Men’s Mental Health

Men’s Mental Health

People of all genders can be affected by mental illness. Although the experiences may vary, it is incorrect to assume that men do not face struggles merely because they are often depicted or expected to be tough and reserved. This expectation stems from toxic masculinity and has led to negative mental health consequences for men. Men are at a higher risk of substance abuse, violent behaviour, and suicide.

Suicide is the biggest cause of death in men aged under 50. The reasons behind it are complex, but it disproportionately affects men.


Men are less likely to access psychological therapies than women: only 36% of referrals to NHS talking therapies are for men.


Would be concerned about taking time off work, whilst 46% would be embarrassed or ashamed to tell their employer. (Men’s Health Forum)


Of deaths by suicide are males, and they are three times more likely to die by suicide than women.

Higher rates of suicide are also found in minority communities, including war veterans, and those with low incomes. Less well-off middle-aged men are particularly likely to die by suicide.

While all this can paint a gloomy picture, help and support are available if you’re worried about your own or someone else’s mental health.

Why don’t men talk about mental health?

The influence of societal expectations and traditional gender roles contributes to the hesitance among men when it comes to discussing or seeking assistance for their mental health issues. While we acknowledge that gender stereotypes often adversely affect women, imposing certain behavioural or physical appearance standards on them, it is crucial to recognize that these stereotypes and societal norms can also be harmful to men.

Skewed expectations around how men should display emotion can lead to a fear of being judged, or for crying or appearing “weak.” Men are often expected to be the breadwinners and to be strong, dominant and in control. While these aren’t inherently bad things, they can make it harder for men to reach out for help and open up.

Media and television shows often portray crying men as something to be mocked, but mocking this healthy, human emotional release only serves to discourage men from crying and talking to others about their difficulties.

Is depression different for men?

While there isn’t a different sort of ‘male depression’, some symptoms are more common in men than women. These include irritability, sudden anger, increased loss of control, risk-taking and aggression.

Men may also be more likely to use alcohol and drugs to cope with their depression rather than talking about it. They may use escapist behaviour too, such as throwing themselves into their work.

If you’re experiencing depression, there is help available. Read more about the symptoms of depression and ways to get support.

What are the symptoms of mental disorders in men?

In many cases, men and women do not differ in the symptoms they will experience when struggling with their mental health. If you’re concerned you or someone else might be suffering from mental health issues, consider these common signs and symptoms:

  • Anger, irritability, or aggressiveness.
  • Noticeable changes in mood, energy level, or appetite.
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much.
  • Difficulty concentrating, feeling restless, or on edge.
  • Increased worry or feeling stressed.
  • Misuse of alcohol, drugs, or both.
  • Overwhelming feelings of sadness.
  • Withdrawal from friends and family.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Feeling tired or fatigued.
  • Physical symptoms like shortness of breath or headaches.
  • Working obsessively
  • Reckless behaviour

The following factors can contribute to poor mental health:

  • Social isolation
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Overeating junk food, particularly processed, high-sugar foods
  • Major life stressors, such as job loss, divorce, financial issues, illness, the death of a loved one, a move or a new job

What can I do if I’m worried about my mental health?

Surveys from around the world find that males everywhere are reluctant to talk about their mental health and are more likely to die by suicide than females, but strong social connections can reduce the risk of suicide – men talking to each other does make a difference. simple changes such as talking about your feelings, keeping active and eating well can help you feel better. Movember’s Move for mental health could help you with staying active, click HERE to see how.

For some tips on staying well, start by looking at our best mental health tips below.

Build social connections

It’s important to have a good social support group, whether that’s your family or your friends. Look for people who are positive, have an open mind and are supportive.

Engage in a hobby

Engaging in a hobby that brings you joy can greatly contribute to your mental well-being. Therefore, it is essential to prioritize activities such as hiking, woodworking, cooking, sports, working out, swimming, gardening, traveling, reading, or watching movies – whatever you fancy – in order to ensure a healthy mind.

Get regular exercise

Multiple research studies show that getting 20 minutes of physical activity three times per week reduces the risk of depression and anxiety, he says. This includes any form of exercise that increases your heart rate, such as walking, running, hiking, swimming, cycling or high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

Nourish your body

Eat fresh, whole foods as much as possible. This includes lean protein, healthy fats, vegetables, fruit, and whole grains. Limit alcohol, sugar, processed food, and refined carbohydrates.

Consider counselling.

Counselling is a safe space to express emotions and seek guidance for managing stress. It offers non-judgmental support, helps develop coping skills, identifies harmful patterns, and sets goals for personal growth. Seeking therapy can lead to a happier, more fulfilling life.

If you’re concerned, you’re developing a mental health problem, talk to your GP. It can be daunting, but most people find that speaking to their GP and getting help and support can make a big difference in their lives.

If you’re in distress and need immediate help or are feeling like ending your life, please call 999 or go to A&E and ask for the contact of the nearest crisis resolution team. These are teams of mental health care professionals who work with people in severe distress.

Talking about problems can offer a feeling of relief. Talking, whatever that be, one-to-one or more socially with friends and family can help us to relax which will instinctively make us feel better. Sometimes it’s easier to talk to a stranger rather than to relatives or friends about worries or health concerns. For that reason, on occasions, speaking to a counsellor can be really beneficial.  Being able to talk, cry, shout or just think is valuable. It’s an opportunity to look at your problems with someone else from a different perspective and try to find your solutions, relieve stress, anxiety and frustration.

Life can throw us curveballs. Yet even when things seem tough, there’s a lot we can do to look after ourselves and others. That’s why many organisations out there offer practical and emotional advice and support to help men cope and live happier, healthier, longer lives – no matter what life throws at us.

Contact these organisations if you need support or want to learn more about men’s mental health.

You may also like to look at the link below for a selection of videos from ManUp dealing with various mental health issues that men may face:

What if I’m worried about someone else’s mental health? How can I help them?

If you’re concerned about a friend or relative, there are things you can do to help them.

The first step is spotting the signs.

If someone you know is avoiding social situations, disappearing from social media, or showing signs of frustration, it could mean they’re facing mental health challenges.

Show your support by reaching out to them and expressing concern. Have a private conversation, empathize with their feelings, and encourage them to seek professional help if needed. Remember to listen without judgment and continue to offer support afterward. Your intervention may make a difference in their journey to healing.

The conversations might not come easily, but Movember offers a useful guide – ALEC.

Someone who is experiencing mental health problems may find it hard to reach out, so try to keep in touch. A text message or a phone call could make a big difference.

Find out about local services such as talking therapy or support groups. See if there are any specifically for men if you think they’d prefer that. Hub of Hope offers local, national, community, charity, private and NHS mental health support and services.

Assist them in seeking support by encouraging them to ask for help and assuring them that it is completely acceptable. Let them know that there are resources available to assist them. If they need assistance, offer to help them reach out to their General Practitioner or offer to accompany them to their appointment, if they desire.

Take care of yourself. Looking after someone else can be hard, so make sure you consider your wellbeing too.

CALM has a helpful webpage about what to do if you’re worried someone might be suicidal, including warning signs, what to say and what to do next. Click HERE to take a look.

Please see below for a selection of websites who can help you in spotting the warning signs or helping another with their mental health.