General News

More men with mental health issues commit suicide than women

Besi Besemar November 17, 2016

Research reveals men struggle to cope with mental health problems, as new suicide data shows a huge male bias.


New research published today shows the disproportionate impacts of mental health issues on men in the UK.

A report launched ahead of International Men’s Day by The Huffington Post UK and the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) reveals men are less likely than women to talk to anyone about being depressed, and more likely to exhibit risk-taking behaviour.

The findings as part of a report, called The Masculinity Audit 2016, come as new suicide statistics for the UK reveal a significant, ongoing male bias.

Ahead of the formal 2017 announcement, HuffPost UK and CALM have compiled full UK figures – to include Northern Ireland and Scotland as well as England and Wales – which confirm that 75% of UK suicides in 2015 were male. Suicide remains the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK.

Jane Powell
Jane Powell

Jane Powell, CEO of CALM, said: “Too many men are dying at their own hands, so we must look at this problem through a gendered lens. That’s why research like this is crucial. We’re not going to get any better at supporting men and saving lives unless we continue to build knowledge of what it means to be a man right now.”

The findings come from an in-depth survey that explores the state of modern masculinity, built on a comparative study carried out by CALM in 2014 and published as part of The Huffington Post UK’s month-long Building Modern Men initiative, which aims to highlight the pressures men face around identity and to raise awareness of the epidemic of suicide.

Stephen Hull
Stephen Hull

Stephen Hull, Editor in Chief of The Huffington Post UK, said: “Suicide among men is an epidemic that we are only starting to face up to. These figures show that we need to address and talk about mental health and wellbeing issues that impact on the lives of men. It is only by talking about issues and seeking out solutions that we can help give the vital support men need.”

The most alarming gender disparity in the report is that that whilst 67% of females who felt very depressed said they talked to someone about it, only 55% of males said the same.

Men were also much more likely than women to feel too embarrassed to talk about being depressed (30% compared to 21%), and less likely to call on friends to discuss the problem.

The report also shows that men are more likely to exhibit risk-taking behaviour, such as getting drunk, taking drugs, gambling excessively and driving too fast. Results also suggest that these behaviours are much more likely again in those who have felt depressed.

The full report shines a light on several interesting aspects about men in UK society in 2016, including pressures felt at work and at home, especially among fathers.

For instance, significantly more men feel pressure to be the breadwinner (31% compared to 19% of women) and suggest their partner would think less of them if they lost their job, whilst women’s responses suggest these worries are unwarranted (a quarter of men compared to 17% of women).

Other interesting findings reveal:

♦ 77% of men rated their job as very important or important to their self-esteem.

♦ Four out of ten males feel that they lack the qualities and abilities partners look for in a man, the main qualities and abilities they feel they are lacking in is physical attractiveness (26%), and confidence (26%), followed by financial dependability (20%) and security and stability (18%).

♦ Four out of ten male respondents strongly agreed that ‘women have unrealistic expectations of men’.
61% of all respondents agree that men are stereotyped in the media.