An online survey finds that while only 7% of men prioritise their mental health, more are accepting its value.
Insurance company Simplyhealth has released the findings of their campaign ‘Everyman’s Health Matter’ survey. Results revealed that despite movements made in getting men to open up about their mental health, many are still reluctant to seek help.
One reason behind that reluctance was gendered stereotypes. Almost 60% of respondents thought that gender expectations stopped men from seeking support, and 63% of men had never sought professional help for their mental health.
Disparities in the considered value of mental and physical health were also discovered, as 7% of men were found to prioritise their mental health above their physical health. Although, a majority (53%) believe the two are equally as important. But concerningly, there are continual social barriers, as only 19% believe men feel comfortable talking about mental health.
Barriers to getting support were due to frustrations, fears, and feelings that their problems did not need to be addressed. Of the men surveyed, 17% replied that being a burden on the NHS is a reason they had not sought help, 10% fear the outcome of going to the doctor, 23% felt anxious or frustrated when needing to seek help, and worryingly, over 15% of men would not speak with friends, family, or professionals about their mental health.
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“We’re at a breaking point”, “it’s time to empower men to talk”
A webinar delving deeper into the survey's insights heard from actor Martin Kemp. He opened up about his own experience of dealing with a cancer diagnosis and opening up about his mental health. He commented: "I wanted to keep it inside because I knew that if I gave my problems to my family and told them about all of my worries, and all of my stresses and strains of going through that period, that I would give those stresses and strains to them.”
Despite the figures suggesting that mental health for men is still partially stigmatised, Mr Kemp said that he is hopeful, “I like to think we’re at a breaking point where everything’s changing. I think the whole pandemic is going to change things for the better. We are all sitting here today, and we are all talking about mental health. This wouldn’t have happened before.”
Catherine Rutland, clinical director at Simplyhealth, also urged men to begin to take steps to improve their mental health and wellbeing, saying: “Even baby steps can be tough when generations of gender expectations block the way. It's time to tackle tradition and empower men to talk – and make the right choices – so they can lead physically and mentally healthier lives.”