Men’s mental health awareness is improving but there are still problems around men getting help. Around one in eight men has a mental health issue, including anxiety, panic attacks, or OCD [1]. But even in our supposedly enlightened society, the idea of what’s ‘manly’ can mean it’s hard for many men to ask for help or to access psychological therapies.

Men’s mental health facts – a few statistics

Men are diagnosed with mental health problems at a lower rate than women. This doesn’t mean they are less likely to have them, it’s just that fewer men seek diagnosis and treatment. Men are far more likely than women to be made homeless, or incarcerated, or to be victims of violent crime. These are all risk factors for mental health issues. Women are more likely to self-harm, but men are more likely to use drugs or alcohol. [2]

Men are three times more likely than women to die by suicide, and men in their forties are most at risk. Women are more likely to attempt suicide, but they tend to choose less reliable methods and so are more likely to survive.

Are you worried that someone in your family (of any gender) may be at risk of suicide? If so, have a look at our suicide awareness and prevention courses. These are just two hours and offer a framework to offer effective help and support until qualified help can be reached. They are open to members of the public and you don’t need medical or therapeutic training to use the skills.

Link to the course details.

Widowed men are more likely to die soon after their partner’s death than widowed women. [3] As well as the sudden increase in practical responsibilities, men who can’t confide in their friends will often confide in their wives. It’s possible that losing this outlet has an effect on their mental and physical health.

It’s OK to ask for help – men’s mental health

The prevailing stereotype of men is still strong, stoic, and in control. (Of course, I’m generalising here, these comments are not true of everyone. But there is a definite trend.) No one can live up to this stereotype all the time, but the pressure to try makes it harder for many men to ask for help.

Women are more likely than men to discuss their problems with family or friends. Men of colour, or those who are LGBTQ+, may feel more of this pressure and experience more problems as a result. Those who don’t speak about their emotions are thought to be less able to recognise mental health issues in themselves as well. This leads to delays in knowing there is a problem to deal with.

Failure to recognise or deal with negative emotions can cause fatigue, high blood pressure, increased risk of heart attack or stroke, and a feedback loop of negative emotions. And untreated mental health issues can have a direct effect on physical health as well.

Bottling things up can also be difficult for the people around you. Men are more likely than women to direct stress and sadness into anger. This isn’t dismissed as unmasculine in the way sadness is but has a negative effect on personal relationships. A stressed person with no other outlet is likely to lash out against others or themselves, even if only verbally.

Mental health awareness for men

Although it’s still true that men can feel unable to reach out for help, things are slowly improving. Men’s mental health is discussed more often, and men are more aware of mental health issues than they used to be.

In 2019, a survey by Mind, the mental health charity, [4] showed that men are now three times more likely to see a therapist than they were ten years ago.

They are also more likely to talk to a GP or family member. Or to find self-help information online or in a book. As an alternative to medication, 30% of men in the survey said they would consider face-to-face therapy.

Help for men with mental health issues

Self-help for men with mental health issues

Any of the advice on this site applies to men as much as women. In particular

  • Use relaxation techniques such as mindfulness or self-hypnosis regularly.
  • Get out into nature.
  • Get a sense of achievement by challenging yourself – some days that might just mean getting out of bed or getting dressed, but if you can, do more: take up a new hobby or interest, volunteer, or get a few ticks on the ‘to do’ list.
  • Chat with someone who will listen without judgement – a partner, a friend, or a therapist.

Therapy for men

The Mind survey mentioned above also found that 22% of men would find it easier to access therapy if it was available online and my experience is that this is far more available now than it was before the COVID lockdowns. Therapists (including myself) who didn’t consider offering their services remotely now do so routinely. Follow this link for more about the pros and cons of online therapy.

Many therapists also offer weekend and evening appointments so therapy can fit around your working hours, and you should always look for someone who follows a code of ethics that offers you assurances about confidentiality. Ask questions and find out exactly how they work. For more help and advice on getting the right therapist, see my earlier blogs –

  • How to choose the right therapist – see article.
  • Why you might not call a therapist, and why you should – see article.

Or feel free to contact me at any time. I am happy to advise and can offer referrals if I can’t help myself.

Mental health crisis

If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, whether you are male or female, please reach out to someone who can help. If you don’t know where to start, you are welcome to give me a ring or make an appointment for a free discovery session, and if I don’t think I’m the right person to help you, I’ll help you find someone who is.

  • 999 – ask for an ambulance if you think you or someone else is in immediate danger.
  • Samaritans 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
  • Stamp Out Suicide You can text 07766 808 222 and SOS will arrange for a counsellor to ring back.
  • Crisis Text Line – text 741741 and a counsellor will text back – a good option if it’s difficult to express yourself aloud.
  • SANEline offers emotional support and information from 6 pm– 11 pm, 365 days a year. Their national number is 0300 304 7000.
  • Men’s advice line for those experiencing abuse –
  • See your GP if you are feeling low or anxious and it’s affecting your ability to lead the life you want, or it’s causing you distress.
  • Under 25s can text THEMIX to 85258 and a crisis worker will text them back (



Author: Debbie Waller is a professional therapist, specialising in stress, anxiety and related issues, including gut-directed hypnotherapy to help with the symptoms of IBS. She also offers EMDR/Blast which is used for trauma, PTSD, phobias and OCD. For more information on any of these services, phone 01977 678593. 

Researcher: Rae Waller is an experienced researcher and writer with a special interest in mental health issues. Rae offers drafting, fact-checking, proofreading, and editing for anything from a leaflet to a website, a blog or a book, and can also provide diversity reading, especially for LGBTQ+ and autism-related issues. Please contact for further information.