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Men's Mental Health: Preventing Future Health Issues in Children


Kelly Ofasi

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This blog post was originally published on The Safeguarding Company website >> https://www.thesafeguardingcompany.com/resources/blog/men-s-mental-health-preventing-future-health-issues-in-children/

MEN’S MENTAL HEALTH: PREVENTING FUTURE HEALTH ISSUES IN CHILDREN

Men’s health week is a global health awareness campaign that focuses on the health issues all men face. In this blog we will discuss statistics around men’s health and how recording and discussing issues when men are young can encourage resilience later in life.

In 2021, the Mental Health Foundation found that in England alone one in eight men has a common mental health problem such as depression, anxiety, panic disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). While this figure acts as a representative to reported health problems, is difficult to determine a true number due to the amount of undiagnosed or disclosed cases. When it comes to men’s health, we can assume the amount of unreported mental health issues is vast.

MEN’S MENTAL HEALTH STATISTICS

The Mental Health Foundation reported other statistic of men’s mental health which included:

  • Three times as many men as women die by suicide
  • Men aged 40-49 have the highest suicide rates in the UK
  • Men are less likely to access psychological therapies than women: only 36% of referrals to NHS talking therapies are for men

Men are also far more likely than women to go missing, sleep rough, become alcohol dependant, or abuse drugs more frequently. You can find out more about how different mental health issues affect men and women different HERE.  

TOXIC MASCULINITY

There are many damaging gender stereotypes about men and woman alike, and societies expectations and traditional gender roles can play a part in why men are less willing to discuss the problems they are experiencing or seek help for their mental health problems.

Traditionally men's feelings and emotions have been misrepresented and distorted, which can lead to toxic masculinity. Toxic masculinity defines ‘real’ men using harmful language such as ‘strong’ ‘aggressive’ ‘assertive’ ‘confident’ implying that if men do not have these characteristics, they are weak. This emasculation presents the idea that ‘real’ men should not enjoy tasks or activities classed as ‘feminine’ such as fashion, cooking, childcare etc.

This toxic masculinity can often mean that men and young boys find it harder to reach out and open up to other people when they are struggling. Similarly learned behaviours from past generations about men being 'strong' and 'controlling their emotions', often being compared to 'hysterical' women when they show emotions, can be extremely damaging when men try to reach out and express themselves.

Men are also found to be more likely to use potentially harmful coping methods such as drugs or alcohol then to speak openly to friends, family, or professionals about their issues.

ENCOURAGING MENTAL HEALTH RESILIENCE

We can start to break these harmful gender stereotypes when children are young. If boys are encouraged to express themselves and their emotions, hopefully it will lead to them feeling comfortable when opening to their support network when they are struggling.

Similarly, there needs to be a movement away from labelling emotions and emotional expression as ‘girly’ ‘hysterical’ or ‘dramatic’ for both men and women. Gendering emotions and implying that acts of emotion are ‘female’ means negative connotations are assigned to emotions. This means men and boys can be ridiculed for being emotional when they should be able to share and express themselves.

RECORDING AND REPORTING CONCERNS

It is vital that any concerns about children and young people are recorded and stored in a secure system, especially any mental health and wellbeing concerns.

MyConcern, our secure software system for recording and managing all levels of concerns, was developed by child protection professions with backgrounds in social care, education and policing.

With MyConcern, anyone responsible for the protection of children, young people and adults at risk can easily manage and record all safeguarding and wellbeing concerns. MyConcern helps to protect those at risk by allowing early intervention using a trusted, secure and intuitive platform. It also provides safeguarding leads with the peace of mind by meeting the statutory, legal and moral obligations they have to those in their care.

 

Support and resources

  • Talk to the Samaritans - The Samaritans offer emotional support 24 hours a day Call 116 123 - it's FREEOr email jo@samaritans.org.uk
  • Shout Crisis Text Line - for support in a crisis, Text Shout to 85258.
  • Rethink Mental Illness - for support call Rethink on 0300 5000 927
  • Mind - Call the infoline on 0300 123 3393 or email info@mind.org.uk
  • The Mind Legal Advice service are avilable if you need legal advice, call the service on 0300 466 6463 or email legal@mind.org.uk.
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