Men and Therapy
Why aren't men more open about their mental health?
Research shows that men are less likely to consult with doctors and other health professionals including mental health practitioners, counsellors and psychotherapists than women.
It is suggested that it is because men are less likely to want to talk to a stranger about their concerns, thinking that it is best to try and sort it out alone. But it is also a fact that there are fewer male counsellors and psychotherapists so if there is a preference to speak to another male then it can be harder to find a practitioner.
Men are frequently expected to be powerful, domineering, and in command. While these aren't necessarily terrible traits, they might make it more difficult for men to seek treatment and open up.
Men who are unable to talk about how they are doing freely may be less able to recognise indications of mental illness in themselves, get valuable feedback and support from others and less inclined to seek help.
Men are also less likely to communicate to family or friends about their mental health and are more prone to adopt potentially dangerous coping strategies such as drugs or alcohol.
In the United Kingdom, 40% of men won't talk about their own mental health and the biggest pressures in men’s life are work (32%), finance (31%) and health (23%)
Men and suicide?
In recent years, men who lose their lives prematurely through suicide has steadily increased. In 2017, there were almost 6000 suicides in the United Kingdom. Men made about 75% of the group. Suicide is the leading cause of mortality among males under the age of 50.
Suicide rates are also higher in minority groups, such as homosexual males, war veterans, males from BAME origins, and those with poor incomes. Middle-aged males who are less well-off are more prone losing their lives prematurely through suicide.
What can I do to improve my psychological well-being?
- Talk about how you are doing.
Talking about how you are doing might help you maintain your psychological wellbeing and cope with difficult situations and remember that doing so often gives the other person a chance to talk about their struggles.
- Be active.
Exercise can help with concentrating, sleeping, and feeling better. Exercise not only maintains your brain and other critical organs healthy, but it also helps you improve your mental health.
- Eat a healthy diet
Your brain needs a variety of nutrients to be healthy and operate properly. A diet that is beneficial to your bodily well-being is equally beneficial to your mental well-being.
- Drink alcohol sensibly or not at all
Many people drink alcohol as a mood lifter. It's important to be careful with alcohol intake. When the effects of a drink wears off, the way the alcohol has affected your brain and the rest of your body makes you feel worse. Drinking is not a healthy method to deal with negative emotions.
- Keep in touch with people.
There is nothing better than meeting up with someone face-to-face. Recently, this has been difficult due to the current pandemic. It's important and beneficial for you to maintain open channels of communication whether that is face-to-face, a phone call, sending a message or chatting with someone online.
- Ask for help when you need it
It's natural to feel overwhelmed once in a while but if life becomes too much to handle for you, it's worth seeking help. Your friends, family or therapist will be able to offer practical advice or a listening ear.
- Take a break
A change of scenery or way of life can be beneficial to your psychological well being. This could be anything from taking a five minute break from work or going on a weekend trip away.
- Accept who you are
Each of us is unique. Accepting your individuality is better than wishing you were more like someone else. Feeling good about yourself gives you the confidence to do new things, go to new places, and meet new people. When life throws you a curveball, having high self-esteem might help you deal.
What can we offer?
One of the common misconceptions around gender is that men need to talk more about their feelings, whilst this may often be true it over simplifies the experience of therapy for men and is often an unhelpful generalisation. Therapy is about developing a greater understanding of our concerns and looking at our thoughts, feelings and experiences is central to that. There is currently no science to prescribe the degree to which people need to focus on either their feelings, thoughts or experience so we hold the assumption that it is the individual and not their gender that guides us in therapy.
Nicholas Rose & Associates has a practice that is equally split between male and female clients and uses a dialogic style. Nicholas Rose & Associates have experience of men wanting to talk through issues with anger, depression, addictions, compulsions, relationships, work, suicide, confidence, bereavement, anxiety, sex and illness.