November is an important month in the world of mental health as the UK rallies together in support of Movember. Movember is an incredible movement, raising awareness around male mental health.
In this post, XenZone take a look at past findings on male mental health and what we can learn from those to support early suicide prevention.
There are undoubtedly differences between how boys and girls experience mental health
Back in 2018, we interviewed Dan Mills-Da’Bell, Clinical Lead for XenZone, who said:
“It’s not that girls and boys are dealing with different issues. Largely speaking, they have the same worries: boyfriends, girlfriends, friendships and family relationships, along with depression and anxiety. It’s how they are dealing with them that is so starkly different.
One of the issues boys seem to deal with a lot more than girls though is suicide ideation. Suicidal thoughts are a lot more prevalent in boys than in girls.
This is reflected in suicide rates today. Suicide is the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK, and the biggest killer of young people. Around three quarters of suicides are male, and this truth is something that isn’t addressed in any meaningful way”.
Dan’s point is that we can avoid sending toxic messages to young men which contribute to a restrictive idea of what it is to be male. To read the full article, click here.
Dan expands on this subject matter in further detail in an interview conducted earlier this year below.
Young men are not as accessing online services compared to young women
A year prior to our interview with Dan Mills-Da’Bell, we released a report with the Education Policy Institute titled Future Thinking on Mental Health. The report showed that fewer males use Kooth compared to females, suggesting that this pattern may reflect gender differences in social media use:
“Teenage girls are more likely to engage in social media than boys and this could also be a reason why girls are more attracted to using a service like Kooth which is similar in style to social media, with live forums as well as online counselling conversations.”
You can read the full report here. It is important to note that this seems to be an issue across the board. We all need to find ways to encourage men of all ages to use the mental health services available.
Body image is more of an issue for young men than we might think
According to The Body Image Therapy Center, 43% of young men aged 18-30 are dissatisfied with their bodies. A rising number of boys and young men start exercising to extremes and use protein supplements to achieve the ‘right’ body shape. In support of Mental Health Awareness week earlier this year, we put together some top tips to help people become more body positive. You can find them here.
Males tend to be harder to reach when it comes to supporting their mental health
As stated in our 2018/2019 Kooth Year in Review, “Males generally are also harder to reach. This is why our teams have been working with schools to deliver Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) sessions to young men to encourage more communication around mental and emotional well-being”.