As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, our blog posts are focusing on different topics surrounding mental health to try and educate people on recognising the signs and symptoms of various mental health conditions. Today’s blog post is all about how mental health conditions affect men in particular with advice on how you can provide support for them. It can be difficult for people to open up and talk about their mental health, but by offering a helping hand and words of encouragement you can gently prompt your loved one to reach out and be open about their condition.
Mental health conditions affect people of all genders, but more men than women may struggle living and coping with it. This can be due to a number of reasons, such as the stereotype that men should be “strong” and not as emotional, or it may be that men with mental conditions could find it more difficult to reach out and talk to others about their issues. Whatever the case, it remains that mental health problems affect 12.5% of men in the UK, with suicide being the biggest cause of death for men under 35.
Signs to look out for:
- 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
- A need for alcohol or drugs
- Sadness or hopelessness
- Suicidal thoughts
- Feeling flat or having trouble feeling positive emotions
- Engaging in high-risk activities
- Ongoing headaches, digestive issues, or pain
- Obsessive thinking or compulsive behaviour
- Thoughts or behaviours that interfere with work, family, or social life
- Unusual thinking or behaviours that concern other people
How you can help
If your dad, brother, partner, friend or another loved one you know is struggling with their mental health, reach out and let them know they’re not alone. They may be finding it difficult to talk to people about their problems but just a simple text or phone call can really make a difference and let them know that you’re there for them. Pop round to see them and listen to them talk about their problems; even if you don’t have any advice to offer, simply listening can help to take some weight off their shoulders.
It’s also important not to be critical if someone you know is living with mental health problems as there doesn’t have to be a reason or cause behind mental health, and quite often it can be down to genetics. Men may find it more difficult than women to talk about their feelings so it’s even more important to be accepting of their issues and offer your help in any way you can. Telling someone to “man up” about their mental health conditions only adds to the social stereotypes surrounding mental illness in males and doesn’t help at all in the road to recovery.
Approximately 1 in 6 people in the past week experienced a common mental health problem, with different conditions affecting people of all ages and backgrounds. At Ability Superstore, we’re keen to help provide advice and facts about mental health to spot the signs and give people a chance to seek help. If you’ve been affected by mental health, or know someone who has, you can call the Samaritans helpline at 116 123 or phone 111 out of hours to find the support and help that you need. Alternatively, you can visit Men’s Health Forum here for more information.