Our work on men’s mental health

31st Oct 2020
Prevention resources and tools
Men's mental health

This content mentions suicide or suicidal thoughts. Please read with care. There are details of where to find help at the bottom of this page.

In this blog, 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.

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 and that 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 how we can 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 well-being 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.

Training - men and workplace mental health

We created films for Royal Mail Group (Supporting someone; Helping Yourself; Recognising Distress; First Class Mental Health) and Mace Group to enable a largely male workforce to start to talk about mental health. In 2018 we delivered line manager training to hundreds of managers at Yorkshire Building Society and food services company Brakes. Brakes has a largely male workforce – working round the clock in warehouse and driving roles – a challenging operating environment. By adopting the manager training and holding both Curry and Chaat and Tea and Talk fundraising events throughout the business they have set a course to address mental health in a challenging work context and we are excited to see how the programme lands.

Peer support – fathers

The Mental Health Foundation has partnered with Cardiff City Football Club and Cardiff University for a new project learning about men's experiences when they become fathers, Dads and Football.

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 approach 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 face a period of significant uncertainty in the short to medium term, potentially negatively affecting 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.

If you are feeling like ending your life or feel unable to keep yourself safe, 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 feel affected by the content you have read, please see our get help page for support.

Related content

Learn more about men's mental health

Explore our programmes of work supporting men's mental health, plus information, advice, blogs and stories from men sharing their experiences of mental health.

Blog: "A focus on the mental health of minority men"

It’s important not to treat men as a monolithic group because we will have different experiences of the world based on – among other things - our ethnicity, national origin, sexuality and class.

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