03 Nov 2020
As local lockdowns continue across the UK and more of us are having to stay at home, feeling isolated from friends, family and colleagues, it is no surprise that millions of people from all backgrounds and of all ages are suffering from stress, anxiety, depression and many other forms of mental illness.
As well as exacerbating existing mental health issues, the ongoing pandemic is also affecting many thousands of people who have previously felt in complete control.
The issue is particularly acute among men and as we enter November, the Mental Health Foundation is shifting its focus to men’s mental health.
A recent survey carried out by the organisation revealed that only 24% of men who have felt high levels of stress have discussed this with a friend or family member. This is concerning as stress can often lead to depression, anxiety, self-harm and, in extreme cases, even suicide.
Men make up three quarters of all suicides in the UK and that suicide is the largest cause of death for men under 50.
According to the Mental Health Foundation survey, almost one in three men started drinking more in order to cope with how they were feeling. Men were also twice as likely as women to report using illegal drugs when feeling stressed, which is worrying since dealing with stress in this way can often intensify underlying feelings and makes it harder to ask for help.
Two thirds of the men surveyed said they’d felt so stressed at some point over the last year that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. A third have also experienced suicidal thoughts as a result of feeling stressed.
These are devastating statistics. More has to be done to get to the stage where men feel comfortable discussing their mental health as currently, too many men simply internalise their problems and end up feeling very alone.
As the pandemic continues, we’ve compiled some tips on how to look after your mental health:
If you are feeling like you can’t cope or are worried about someone who is going through a hard time, talking is always the first step. Remember that you are not alone and there will always be someone who can help. You can call the Samaritans for free on 116 123 or CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) on 0800 58 58 58. Please take care of yourselves.
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