November is Men’s Health Awareness Month - Bradford Pharmacy!

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November is Men’s Health Awareness Month with International Men’s Day falling on November 19th. 

Men’s Health Awareness Month is dedicated to bringing awareness to a wide range of men’s health issues. As we focus on men this month, we can’t ignore that men tend to be more reluctant to seek help or treatment for their mental health struggles (Chatmon, 2020).

In comparison to women, men are almost half as likely to report seeking professional help for their mental health concerns (Oliver et al., 2005). Correspondingly, men consisted of approximately a third of the referrals to mental health services in the National Health System in England in 2019-2020. The lower rate of treatment use is particularly concerning considering that across the world men are almost twice as likely to die by suicide than women
November is Men’s Health Awareness Month - Bradford Pharmacy!
November is Men’s Health Awareness Month - Bradford Pharmacy!
This is exemplified by the public suicide of a man on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. this month, citing a lifelong struggle with depression and personal and career difficulties. It is clear that the mental health field is not doing enough to support men’s mental health and there is a need to devote more efforts to preventing such deadly consequences.

Masculinity as a barrier to mental health

Why do men avoid seeking help for mental health concerns? While a range of factors contribute, one of the most dominant factors is the concept of masculinity and how some definitions of masculinity conflict with seeking help for mental struggles. Seeking help often means having to rely on others, admit there is a problem, and express emotions, but these behaviors can conflict with societal messages about masculinity, such as “men are self-reliant and tough” and “men don’t express emotions” (Cole & Ingram, 2011).

The conflict between masculinity and seeking treatment was highlighted in a study on men’s attitudes to mental health (Ellis et al., 2013). When asked about seeking help, participants consistently stated that seeking help conflicted with cultural notions of what it means to be a man. For instance, one participant stated, “...[Talking about your problems] is not a thing that’s really accepted. Guys don’t want to feel like they’re all girly.”

In light of these barriers, how can the mental health field provide treatment options that fit the needs of men? One option is online mental health treatment. In the same study on men’s attitudes to mental health, men expressed a strong willingness to use the internet to find mental health support (Ellis et al., 2013). To quote one participant, “I’d prefer to talk to someone on the Internet and then maybe make my way to a counselor or a psychiatrist…”. A similar study found that men preferred treatment options in which they had control in the direction of their treatment and in which they learned specific skills and tools they could practice and use to solve problems (Seidler et al., 2018).

Seeking help via the internet can provide anonymity and feelings of self-directed help that don’t clash with someone’s sense of masculinity. Types of therapies, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), may be particularly suitable for men since CBT focuses on current problems and provides specific tools and techniques that can be used to solve them. Of the multiple mental health treatment options available, SilverCloud Health is an evidence-based online CBT solution that is proven to be effective for men’s mental health.


Given the societal pressures, cultural norms, and beliefs that make men reluctant to seek treatment and address their mental health concerns, there is a critical need to provide mental health treatment options that are appealing to men.

Providing better treatment options and engaging men in seeking out these treatments is not only beneficial to improving the lives of the many men secretly struggling with mental health but is necessary to prevent the devastating and deadly consequences of ignoring mental health problems.

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