Men’s Mental Health
Why men don’t talk about mental health?
Society's expectations and traditional gender roles play a role in why men are less likely to discuss or seek help for their mental health problems. We know that gender stereotypes about women – the idea they should behave or look a certain way, for example – can be damaging to them. But it’s important to understand that stereotypes and expectations can also damage men.
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.
Some research also suggests that men who can’t speak openly about their emotions may be less able to recognise symptoms of mental health problems in themselves and less likely to reach out for support.
Men may also be more likely to use potentially harmful coping methods such as drugs or alcohol and less likely to talk to family or friends about their mental health. However, research suggests men will get the help that meets their preferences and is easy to access, meaningful and engaging. For example, Men’s Sheds provides community spaces for men to connect and chat, often over practical activities.
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 can I do if I’m worried about my mental health?
If you want some tips on staying well, start by looking at our 10 practical ways to look after your mental health. Making simple changes such as talking about your feelings, keeping active and eating well can help you feel better.
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.
Some organisations offer practical and emotional advice and support. Find out more on our Getting help page.
I’m worried about someone’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.
- Let them know you’re there to listen to them without judgement
- 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. Mind has an online directory of peer support groups in England and Wales
- Help them to get help. Reassure them it’s okay to ask for help and that support is out there. You could help them contact their GP or accompany them to their appointment if they want you to
- 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.