Men are now just as likely to see their GP for mental health concerns as women are, possibly indicating a reduction of the stigma surrounding men's mental health.
The promising figures come from Mind's Get It Off Your Chest report, which investigates men's attitudes and behaviours toward mental health over the past 10 years.
According to the report, men who said they would likely talk to their GP for mental health support has jumped from 23% in 2009 to 35% in 2019, putting them on equal footing with women for the first time.
Slight improvements are also seen across the board when looking at the positive steps men will take to manage their mental health:
10% more men said they would look for information
12% more men said that would see a doctor
5% more men would talk to their family
5% more men would talk to a friend
11% more men would see a therapist or counsellor
4% more men would buy a self help book
Looking at counselling specifically, men are now three times as likely to see one as 10 years ago (17% in 2019 vs 6% in 2009).
“It’s really positive that men are more likely to seek help from the NHS and talk to friends and family about their mental health than they were 10 years ago," said Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind. "As a society, we have become more open about mental health in the last decade as campaigns such as Time to Change and Mind’s partnership with the English Football League (EFL) have helped to shift stigmatising attitudes and behaviours, and this may be beginning to filter through."
In addition to the positives, there remain some concerns. The proportion of men experiencing suicidal thoughts when low has increased to 10% while men are still more likely than women to drink alone (13% vs 9%), go to the pub with friends (13% vs 6%), or take recreational drugs (4% vs 1%) when feeling low.
The number of men worried about their appearance has also increased from 18% to 23%, which may be related to the 37% who say social media has a negative impact on how they feel.
Sources of support also seems to remain an issue: 22% of men said that online support and information would make it easier to seek help, followed by an assurance of anonymity (15%) and an availability of support at a more convenient time of day (12%).
“Men still tell us that they struggle to get the help they need for their mental health," said Farmer. "Sometimes they don’t know where to go for help or what’s on offer might not be suitable for them.
“Our survey suggests that a wider range of options might be needed, such as physical activity and social activities, alongside access to talking therapies and medication. Ultimately, men are still three times as likely to take their own life their own life as women, so there is much more to do to make sure men can ask for help and can get the right support when they need it and before reaching crisis point."
To read the full report, click here.