More than 4 in 10 men are battling mental health issues during the Coronavirus pandemic, according to a new survey.
Commissioned by anti-stigma campaign Time to Change in time for International Men's Day, the survey, which included 1,500 men from across the UK, found that 45% of men have struggled with their mental health during the last six months.
A lack of face-to-face contact was highlighted as a key reason for this finding, with 44% of men feeling isolated and with no one to talk to, and 45% of men feeling more isolated than ever. On average, men reported having three fewer people in their mental health “support network” since the pandemic hit.
This is despite access to various communication technologies, through which just over 50% of men feel uncomfortable discussing their mental health. This may account for the 44% of men who feel unable to support their male friends during the pandemic.
“The world has changed but being a good friend doesn’t have to,” said Director, Jo Loughran, in response to the survey's findings. “2020 has been tough for everyone and while the full impact of the pandemic on our mental health is still unknown, our research shows that many men are struggling.
“With fewer chances to see each other face-to-face, we could be missing signs that our friends are struggling. Even if someone says they’re fine, they might not be. So if there’s a friend who’s gone a bit quiet on the group chat – reach out. Ask how they are and ask twice.”
Without factoring in the pandemic, mental health issues in men have recently been the subject of many campaign efforts.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, around 1 in 8 men have a common mental health disorder such as depression, anxiety, panic disorder or obsessive compulsive disorder. Men are also three times as likely to die by suicide, be alcohol-dependent, and frequently use drugs compared to women.
These rates are in stark contrast to the number of men that seek mental health support – only 36% of referrals to NHS talking therapies are for men.