The recession is driving men mad

The recession appears to be affecting men more than women
The recession appears to be affecting men more than women

By staff

A shocking new report by a mental health group shows the recession is causing almost 40 per cent of men to be worried or feel low.

In a survey conducted by mental health charity Mind, middle aged men were found to be seven times more likely than women to be having suicidal thoughts.

"The recession is clearly having a detrimental impact on the nation's mental health but men in particular are struggling with the emotional impact," said Mind's chief executive, Paul Farmer.

"Being a breadwinner is something that is still crucial to the male psyche so if a man loses his job he loses a large part of his identity putting his mental wellbeing in jeopardy."

Men were half as likely as women to talk to friends about their problems, and only 23 per cent said they would go see their GP if they felt low for over a fortnight.

Thirty-seven per cent of men said they felt worried or low.

Mind is publishing the poll as part of its 'Get it off you chest' campaign, which aims to get men to recognise the importance of talking about their problems

It is also calling for a strategy for men's health, similar to ones already devoted to women. A wealth of celebrities are coming out in support of the campaign, citing personal experience.

They include Stephen Fry, Lord Melvyn Bragg and Alistair Campbell.

Stephen Fry said: "For so long I tried to get on with my life and career, somehow coping with the huge highs and lows I experienced. If I had felt able to get it off my chest when I was younger I could have got more of the support I needed."

The sentiments were echoed by former spin doctor Alistair Campbell: "Many people, especially men, find it very hard to be open about mental fragility.

"They see it as a sign of weakness, and do not like to ask for help. Or they cover it with drink or drugs or behaviour generally likely to end in tears."

Around 2.7 million men in England currently have a mental health problem like depression, anxiety or stress.

But 75 per cent of suicides are by men.

Some experts are calling for an overhaul in the way that mental health services are provided, to encourage men to attend meetings.

"When men look for help, they can be put off by health premises that are geared more towards women," Mr Farmer said.

"GP surgeries offering women's magazines can feel like a hairdressers and make men feel uncomfortable. The NHS must become more 'male-friendly' offering treatments that appeal to men like exercise on prescription or computerised therapy and advertising their services in places men frequent."

Mind says the recession is set to make existing problems worse, with one in seven men developing depression within six months of losing their jobs.


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