On this page, you will find information and resources relating to issues that, in the main, affect men.
- Movember: Is an annual event involving the growing of moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of men's health issues.
- Directions For Men: Provides groups for men to come and talk about whatever it is that is affecting their mental health.
Domestic violence and abuse
- Men’s Advice Line: For male domestic abuse survivors: 0808 801 0327
- ManKind: Support for men witnessing, experiencing or supporting others who are experiencing domestic violence: 01823 334244
- How are you, dad?: This websites raises awareness of father's mental health and provides signposting to appropriate supports.
- Dad's Matter UK: This service provides support and advice to father's experiencing mental health difficulties.
- Working Dads: Working Dad's is a sister site to Working Mums, and arose due to the increased need to support fathers balancing parenting and employment.
- NHS Start4Life: This website from the NHS offers help and advice during pregnancy, birth and parenthood. They offer a range of supports, as well as signposting to appropriate resources and services.
Men's mental health
Mental health difficulties can be brought on by a range of different situations or experiences. The Mind report includes information on the following three factors which men have reported as having an impact on their mental health:
- Work and unemployment
- Physical appearance
- Social media
Whilst there is research to suggest that men are becoming more willing to seek help for their mental health, it is likely that traditional masculine values, stigma and not knowing where to go for support still play important roles in why men are less likely than women to seek help from the NHS for a mental health problem.
Three times as many men as women die by suicide, and suicide is the largest cause of death for men under 50. Less well-off middle-aged men in particular are more likely to die by suicide than any other age group (Samaritans).
Some of the risk factors for male suicide include:
- Prior suicide attempts
- Mental health issues such as depression (often revealed through irritability, anger or hostility)
- Relationship problems
- Social isolation
- Exposure to bullying
- A history of problem drink or drug use
- Physical illness or disability
- Access to medication or weapons
- Recent bereavement (family member or a close friend)
- Losing a friend or family member to suicide
Seeking help can feel more difficult for men, but you’re not alone and it doesn’t make you ‘weak’ to need support. If you’re worried about your mental health, have a look at our resources on anxiety and low mood, or chat to a member of our team for further support.
Video: Men's own views and experiences
Curated by Ilyas Sagar-Ouriaghli, a NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research PhD Student, this film features interviews with five different men of all ages discussing their mental health. Topics covered include race, family, stereotypes, tips to manage their health and the benefits of speaking to others.
The Mental Health Foundation has published 15 tips for men to help pick themselves up when things get tough.
- Reach out - chat to a mate when you start to hide yourself away
- Be listened to - have a chat and get it off your chest
- Follow social media accounts that you can relate to
- Have a chat with someone who will listen and not ‘fix’ – a mate, colleague, family or a helpline
- Keep up with your routine - or add new structure to your day
- Get outside for a short walk
- Make a motivational playlist
- Read a motivational or inspirational quote - to get perspective
- Do something new like volunteering
- Take up a new hobby
- Get out of your comfort zone - feel a sense of achievement from this
- Stop and pause – take time to check in with your head by using mindfulness, writing or meditation
- Focus on breathing – breathe in and out slowly for 3 minutes
- Switch off – in a way that works for you, with a book, film, video game etc.
- Ask a mate how they are – doing something for a mate can make you feel better
Starting conversations with men who are struggling may seem daunting. But getting them to open up can be easier with practice.
Movember have put together 'how to tackle important conversations with men' guidance. Pick a topic such as:
- He's withdrawn and obsessing
- He's struggling to juggle work and family life
- He's heartbroken
They will help guide you through how to start the conversation with confidence and keep it moving in a helpful direction.
Also learn how to use simple, proven, and helpful phrases to reach out to a man who’s going through tough times. Read free Movember articles and resources to download.
Since 2003, Movember has funded more than 1,250 men’s health projects around the world, challenging the status quo, shaking up men’s health research and transforming the way health services reach and support men. Here are few things you can get involved with this Movember:
- ‘Movember Conversations’ gives you the confidence to have conversations with the men in your life who might be struggling.
- Grow a moustache - your face will raise funds and awareness for men’s health.
- Move for Movember - Run or walk 60km over the month. That’s 60km for the 60 men we lose to suicide each hour, every hour across the world.
- Host a mo-ment - Rally a crew and do something fun and easy, virtual or in person. Hosting is all about having a good time for a good cause.
It can often be tricky spotting a friend who’s struggling, watch the video below to spot the signs.
As part of Movember, we are sharing the experiences of male colleagues who have reached out to our service when they need support.
Marcus, an NHS worker shared his experience of using the Keeping Well NWL service when he had feelings of low self-esteem and confidence. In his role as an NHS support and recovery worker, it involves working with people who are experiencing mental health difficulties, specifically children and young people struggling in school. Marcus started to experience feelings of low self-esteem and confidence, which brought about feelings of his own childhood.
"I didn’t know such services existed but my first contact with [a Keeping Well practitioner] really helped me understand that they can help me. The service can really help people with what they are going through."
Physical health checks
One important factor that men are more at risk of some health issues is that men are less likely to visit their doctor or a pharmacist than women and they are less likely than women to acknowledge illness or seek help (Men’s Health Forum). Some illnesses, such as prostate cancer and testicular cancer, only affect men, so it's important to have a good understanding of what to look out for.
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men globally, and statistics show that 1 in 8 men in the UK will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime.
Unfortunately only two-thirds of prostate cancer cases are detected early in the UK, but early diagnosis and detection can significantly improve prognosis. When prostate cancer is detected late, the survival rate is just 26%. If caught in time, however, survival rates increase to 98% beyond five years. Read here for more facts about prostate cancer.
If you are concerned about prostate cancer, please speak to you GP who will be able to advise you.
Testicular cancer is the most common type of cancer to affect men between the ages of 15 and 49. Younger men are more likely to get testicular cancer. It then becomes less common as men get older. Trans women can also develop testicular cancer if they haven't had an operation to remove their testicles (orchidectomy).
When caught early, testicular cancer is highly treatable and highly curable. Movember advise completing a self-check every month or so. This will help you learn how things normally look and feel, making it easier for you to notice any changes.
NHS research suggests that compared to women, men are more likely to eat unhealthy levels of red meat, processed meat, and salt, and to eat too few fruits and vegetables.
Healthy food for the mind:
Has been shown to have positive impacts on both mental and physical health. It can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as improve sleep quality and energy levels. For more information and resources on physical exercise, click here.
Socialising and group activities
Feeling connected to one another has been found to have a positive impact on our mental health. There are lots of ways that we can achieve this, for example, through meeting up with friends, sharing hobbies together or joining team sports. You can find more information about this here.
Be it art, music, carpentry or even cooking – can have a positive impact on our mental health. Getting creative requires focus and concentration, and allows someone to disconnect from the everyday worries and stressors we might have.
Paying more attention to the present moment – to your own thoughts and feelings, and to the world around you – can improve your mental wellbeing. Join our mindfulness practitioner, Peter Helmer, runs free weekly virtual mindfulness classes.
Spending time outdoors
Research suggests that spending at least two hours a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing. It is also possible to combine time in nature with other mental health strategies such as exercise and physical activity. For more information read more here.
Talking to someone
You do not have to go through any difficulties alone.
If you would like to discuss how you have been feeling, and how we can support you with your mental health, please contact us via telephone, email, or our live chat platform which is available Monday-Friday between 9am and 5pm (click here for further information). If you would like to refer yourself for talking therapy, please click here and complete our self referral form.
Unhealthy food for the mind:
Smoking, alcohol and drugs
Research shows smoking, alcohol and drugs increase the likelihood of developing a mental health condition, such as anxiety and tension. In the long term it can also worsen existing symptoms and make harder to treat.
- Visit our substance use self-help page for free access to resources.
Regular binge eating can lead to feelings of embarrassment, guilt and shame. It can also lead to physical health difficulties as a result of weight gain.
- Visit our nutrition and physical health self-help page for free access to resources.
Working long hours can have an impact on the quality of important areas of your life such as sleep, food/drink intake and relationships with friends and family.
This can develop into a habit that becomes hard to stop. It can lead to feelings of guilt and shame, and can potentially damage work life and relationships.
- Visit our financial wellbeing self-help page for free access to resources.
Risk-taking and addictive behaviours
Risk taking behaviours such as gambling, unsafe sex or pornography addiction can lead to a combination of difficulties. For example, if you are gambling you may find yourself feeling anxious/stressed or having financial difficulties. If you are having unprotected sex you are risking pregnancy, sexually transmitted infection (STI), including HIV, and possibly stress. If you become addicted to sex/pornography then you may find that it becomes difficult for you to control urges or actions, despite the difficulties it may cause in your relationships, finances and professional life, read more here.
Family and relationships
Becoming a father is likely to be one of the biggest events in a man's life. Fathers may feel new emotions initiated by the transition into fatherhood. A father may find themselves excited to meet their new child, although they may also have worries about taking on additional responsibility and supporting their child and/or partner.
Advice in early fatherhood
The National Childbirth Trust (NCT) developed advice for new dads in the early days of becoming a parent. You can read the full article here. The advice is as follows:
- Try to manage your sleep as best you can - A lot of new parents can feel overwhelmed by the lack of sleep soon after having a baby. It is beneficial to get sleep whenever you can. You may have heard the phrase. "When the baby is sleeping, you should be sleeping." Well the old phrase rings true, try to get some shut eye when your baby does!
- Connect through touch - Newborns appear very fragile, and many new dads feel worried about picking up their new child. However, holding your new child is an important part of the bonding experience, you can find more information from the NCT on bonding with your baby here.
- Help your baby's mother to recover after the birth - Giving birth is a challenging time for a mother both physically and emotionally. Providing support with day-today tasks like feeding the baby, can be of great help to your child's mother. Research suggests that spending quality time interacting with and soothing your baby can help you to feel more comfortable together and bond.
- Accept help from others and look after yourself too - During this time it can be beneficial to reach out to people who can support you, like your family and friends. Don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it. You can find more information on services which can support you on this webpage.
Fatherhood and mental health difficulties
Many of us are aware that women can experience mental health difficulties after birth. However, the peri-natal period (the first 12 months after childbirth) is also a time when men are at increased risk of mental health difficulties. Over one-in-ten men experience mental health difficulties when becoming a dad, and this number is higher for when the child's mother is experiencing mental health issues or experiences a traumatic birth.
Below are some of the more common mental health difficulties experienced amongst fathers, however, this is not an exhaustive list:
- Anxiety - Every one experiences worries from time to time. Most dads will have some worries, for example about taking on their new role as a father and worrying about their new baby and it's mother. Visit our self-help page on anxiety to access free resources.
- Depression - Everyone feels ‘down’ occasionally but if feelings of being sad, moody, angry or unable to sleep or concentrate persist for more than a couple of weeks, it could be a sign of depression. It is important to speak to somebody if these feelings persist. Visit our self-help page on low mood and depression to access free resources.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) - PTSD is an anxiety disorder which is caused by experiencing or witnessing a distressing or frightening event. Men whose partners experience a traumatic birth may develop symptoms of PTSD. They may have flashbacks, feel out of control of their mood, or have worries about their partner becoming pregnant or giving birth again. Visit our self-help page on trauma to access free resources.
If you are experiencing mental health difficulties after becoming a father, You don't have to suffer alone or in silence. Looking after yourself by eating a healthy, balanced diet, keeping fit and active and maintaining contact with family and friends can help to elevate your mood and enable you to cope better. Please get in touch with one of our Keeping Well practitioners.
Video: The importance of mental health in fatherhood
TED talk by Mark Williams, who struggled with his mental health when he became a father. Mark subsequently sought support and began advocacy to increase awareness of men's mental health issues in early fatherhood.
Tavistock Relationships are offering free relationship support for all NHS staff and social care workers.
Staff will be offered between four to six confidential and flexible sessions (mornings, evenings or weekends) with therapists via online therapy as a couple.
If you would like to access this offer, complete our self-referral form and select the option 'Couples counselling/Relationship difficulties'. A Keeping Well practitioner will help signpost you to more information.
Relate is a charity that provides counselling services for every type of relationship. They can help with marriage, LGBT issues, divorce and parenting.
Marriage Care is a national charity, specializing in adult couple relationships. They provide support for couples and individuals to build and sustain strong, fulfilling, healthy relationships.