The silent epidemic: how mental health is deadly for men
Men cannot man up from cancer, nor can their masculinity thwart heart disease; but they are expected to maintain some sort of stiff upper lip when it comes to the most deadliest infliction, mental health.
According to the Office for National Statistics, over three out of four suicides (76 per cent) are committed by men, and suicide is the biggest cause of death for men under 35.
Men are failing to "get a grip", as Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan suggests they do, on their mental health condition - with men three times more likely than women to become alcohol dependent, and more likely to use (and die from) illegal drugs.
New research published by the American Psychological Association found a link between so-called masculine traits and depression and substance use.
Joel Wong, who led the research team at Indiana University Bloomington, said: “In general, individuals who conformed strongly to masculine norms tended to have poorer mental health and less favourable attitudes toward seeking psychological help, although the results differed depending on specific types of masculine norms.”
Psychology Today suggests a three-pronged approach to dealing with mental health in men: firstly, the problems should be recognised as a social issue as much as a health issue (unemployment, familial disruption); secondly, the current mental health system should tailor treatment for men; and thirdly, health departments should create specific strategies to improve men’s mental health.
Mental Health Awareness Week is taking place until Sunday, with this year's theme being "Surviving or Thriving?". This year's campaign is looking at the UK's overall mental health, acknowledging that only a small majority of Britons (13 per cent) live with high levels of good mental health.
Nearly two-thirds of people say they have experienced a mental health problem, with more than four in 10 experiencing depression and over a quarter experiencing panic attacks. By 2030, it is estimated that there will be around two million more adults in the UK with mental health problems than there were four years ago, according to the Telegraph.
While the numbers and statistics may be irrelevant for those suffering from mental health problems, they prove one thing: you are not alone, if you are facing a similar battle.