When we consider men’s mental health it’s hard to look beyond the fact that suicide is a leading cause of death for men up to the age of forty. We want to share with you the work we do at the Mental Health Foundation to tackle men's mental health.
How do we address men’s needs?
Any approach to mental health that’s going to work must be adapted to the audience – one size doesn’t fit all, whether it’s mental health services, campaigning messages, or community resources. We’ve been working for over 70 years now to understand what works in mental health and apply research evidence in practice.
The population with the highest frequency of deaths by suicide is men in middle age. If we want to stop men from dying by suicide – and we must – we need to look at what factors affect men’s mental health, and what we can do to enable more men to reach out. When they do, they must be able to access and benefit from mental health services that meet their needs. Too often that isn’t the case. We know that men are less likely to reach out for help. So how do we address men’s needs?
Becoming A Man (BAM) – in schools
The Becoming A Man Programme is mental wellbeing intervention that aims to support young men’s personal development taking into account their lived experience and the often difficult environments they must navigate. It is aimed at young people aged 13 to 17. The programme is delivered in partnership with Black Thrive and Colourful Minds.
Peer support – fathers
The Mental Health Foundation has partnered up with Cardiff City Football Club and Cardiff University for a new project learning about the experiences of men when they become fathers.
Peer support – prisons
One of the approaches that we have specialised in is peer support and self-management. Our Welsh self-management programme for people with long term mental health problems led to an opportunity to take the approach into Parc Prison – an all-male environment. 120 prisoners received training on self-management, with 16 trained as facilitators to promote self-management in the prison community. Wellbeing scores improved, and most prisoners had achieved their goals when followed up.
Peer support – Comhar men's groups
We are partnering with icap (Immigration Counselling and Psychotherapy) to deliver 'Comhar men's groups' self-management courses for Irish men in mid-life. We hope that this approach will help men who have often silently faced childhood trauma, and mental ill health for years to build skills and confidence in a safe space.
Co-produced guides - supporting the farming community
We created a guide with Public Health Wales, which aims to support farming communities at times of uncertainty, by providing an action framework to support the mental health and well-being of farmers and their families.
Farmers and those living in rural communities in Wales are facing a period of significant uncertainty, in the short to medium term, with a potential negative impact on their mental health and wellbeing. In such times, efforts to address the underlying causes of anxiety and distress, and support mental health and well-being should be intensified.
Men’s mental health matters!
We will continue to bring together research evidence with the perspective of people with lived experience to develop programmes help prevent mental health problems – whether that is growing resilience for all men in the workplace or reaching the most vulnerable men in the country and helping them rebuild their mental health.
Help us to continue this work.
If you 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.
If you need someone to talk to then Samaritans are available on 116 123 (UK) for free, 24/7. They are there to talk to, listen and they won't judge or tell you what to do.
C.A.L.M.: National helpline for men to talk about any troubles they are feeling. Call 0800 58 58 58 (UK). They are available 5pm-midnight 365 days a year.
For support in a crisis, Text Shout to 85258. If you’re experiencing a personal crisis, are unable to cope and need support. Shout can help with urgent issues such as: Suicidal thoughts, abuse or assault, self-harm, bullying, relationship challenges.