MIND, the UK’s leading mental health charity, has launched a a new campaign focussed on men and mental health.  It has a two pronged attack.  First, it wants to encourage more men to talk about their mental health.  Second, it wants to urge health services to take better account of men’s needs.

To launch the campaign, MIND commissioned a YouGov survey of over 2000 men and women.  They found that one in three men would be too embarrassed to seek help for a mental health issue, and only 23% of men would see their GP if they felt low.  Men, the same survey found, were also half as likely as women to share their problems with friends.

The consequences of this are real enough.  “… men account for 75 per cent of all suicides, and three times more likely than women to become alcohol dependant …” (Kemple, 2009, p. 6).

What I find interesting about this is why men behave like this.  As I’ve argued elsewhere in this blog, I think there is good reason to believe that men are biologically less emotional than women.  I think the real issue here, though, is how safe men feel in sharing their problems.  If sharing a problem will be taken as a sign of weakness, then a man isn’t going to open up.  Men need relationships and services that meet their needs to open up and not be judged.  Interestingly, the YouGov poll suggested that men don’t go to their GP because they feel GP surgeries are more geared towards women.

To this end, MIND is campaigning for more male-specific services that recognise the different needs men have.  MIND also wants the government to develop a men’s mental health strategy “as a matter of urgency”.

This men’s therapist is fully supportive of the MIND campaign.

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