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17 NOV: Research reveals men struggle to cope with mental health problems, as new suicide data shows huge male bias

Press Release   •  Nov 16, 2016 08:00 GMT

  • Men less likely than women to tell anyone when depressed
  • Men more likely to exhibit risk-taking behaviour
  • Men still three times more likely than women to take their own lives

New research published today shows the disproportionate impacts of mental health issues on men in the UK. Men are less likely than women to talk to anyone about being depressed, and more likely to exhibit risk-taking behaviour, reveals a report launched ahead of International Men’s Day by The Huffington Post UK and the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM).

The findings as part of a report, called The Masculinity Audit 2016, come as new suicide statistics for the UK reveal a significant, ongoing male bias. Ahead of the formal 2017 announcement, HuffPost UK and CALM have compiled full UK figures – to include Northern Ireland and Scotland as well as England and Wales – which confirm that 75% of UK suicides in 2015 were male. Suicide remains the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK.

Jane Powell, CEO of CALM, said: “Too many men are dying at their own hands, so we must look at this problem through a gendered lens. That’s why research like this is crucial. We’re not going to get any better at supporting men and saving lives unless we continue to build knowledge of what it means to be a man right now.”

The findings come from an in-depth survey that explores the state of modern masculinity, built on a comparative study carried out by CALM in 2014 and published as part of The Huffington Post UK’s month-long ‘Building Modern Men’ initiative, which aims to highlight the pressures men face around identity and to raise awareness of the epidemic of suicide.

Stephen Hull, Editor in Chief of The Huffington Post UK, said: “Suicide among men is an epidemic that we are only starting to face up to. These figures show that we need to address and talk about mental health and wellbeing issues that impact on the lives of men. It is only by talking about issues and seeking out solutions that we can help give the vital support men need."

The most alarming gender disparity in the report is that that whilst 67% of females who felt very depressed said they talked to someone about it, only 55% of males said the same. Men were also much more likely than women to feel too embarrassed to talk about being depressed (30% compared to 21%), and less likely to call on friends to discuss the problem.

The report also shows that men are more likely to exhibit risk-taking behaviour, such as getting drunk, taking drugs, gambling excessively and driving too fast. Results also suggest that these behaviours are much more likely again in those who have felt depressed.

The full report shines a light on several interesting aspects about men in UK society in 2016, including pressures felt at work and at home, especially among fathers. For instance, significantly more men feel pressure to be the breadwinner (31% compared to 19% of women) and suggest their partner would think less of them if they lost their job, whilst women’s responses suggest these worries are unwarranted (a quarter of men compared to 17% of women).

Other interesting findings from the research reveal:

  • 77% of men rated their job as very important or important to their self-esteem.
  • Four out of ten males feel that they lack the qualities and abilities partners look for in a man, the main qualities and abilities they feel they are lacking in is physical attractiveness (26%), and confidence (26%), followed by financial dependability (20%) and security and stability (18%).
  • Four out of ten male respondents strongly agreed that ‘women have unrealistic expectations of men’.
  • 61% of all respondents agree that men are stereotyped in the media. 

NOTES TO EDITORS

  • Contact: Rachel Stephenson, Communications Director, CALM – 07738160434 / rachel@thecalmzone.net or Nicola Williamson, AOL - 07966840560
  • The Masculinity Audit was prepared by Public Knowledge on behalf of Huffington Post UK and the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)
  • The results were derived from an online survey which ran 3rd-7th October 2016, generating 1,017 responses
  • Download the full report here (available 17 November): http://bit.ly/masculinity2016
  • In 2015, 75% of all suicides in the UK were male (NISRA, GRO, ONS 2015)
  • Suicide is the single biggest killer of men aged under 45 in the UK (NISRA, GRO, ONS 2015)

ABOUT CALM

  • Founded in 2006, the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is an award-winning charity dedicated to preventing male suicide
  • For more information visit thecalmzone.net
  • CALM’s helpline & webchat are open daily 5pm-midnight thecalmzone.net/get-help
  • CALM is a charity registered in England and Wales (1110621) and in Scotland (SC044347)

ABOUT HUFFINGTON POST

The Huffington Post is a Pulitzer Prize-winning source of breaking news, video, features, and entertainment, as well as a highly engaged global community for opinion and conversation. The platform has 100,000 bloggers, from politicians, students and celebrities to academics, parents and policy experts, who contribute in real-time on the subjects about which they are most passionate. The Huffington Post is committed to covering our core editorial pillars -- news and politics, wellness, and solutions to the world's biggest problems -- and using every available tool and platform, including virtual reality and immersive storytelling, to inform, inspire, entertain and empower. The Huffington Post has editions in the UK, Canada, France, Spain, Italy, Japan, Maghreb, Germany, Brazil, Mexico, South Korea, Greece, India, Australia and the Arab world, and is part of AOL Inc.

ABOUT BUILDING MODERN MEN

Throughout November, The Huffington Post UK is running a month-long focus around men to highlight the pressures they face around identity and to raise awareness of the epidemic of suicide. To address some of the issues at hand, Building Modern Men presents a snapshot of life for men, the difficulty in expressing emotion, the challenges of speaking out, as well as kick starting conversations around male body image, LGBT identity, male friendship and mental health. For more information visit Building Modern Men on HuffPost.

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