NEW YORK — Millions of men may be putting up a brave front, but they’re not doing as well as you may think. A new survey finds the average man feels down three times a week. The poll of 2,000 British men also finds the average respondent only rates their mental health a six out of 10.
However, those as young as 18 say it’s closer to five out of 10.
Dealing with a physical health condition (26%), poor eating habits (20%), and pressures at work (20%) are among the reasons men say they’re struggling with their mental well-being over the last 12 months. Others claim not being in a relationship, lifestyle changes such as the breakdown of a marriage, and scrolling through social media can affect their general well-being as well.
Another 44 percent admit they’ve never opened up to someone about how they are feeling, with 32 percent often feeling lonely. Meanwhile, 35 percent actively avoid conversations with others about their mental well-being.
How are you really doing?
The research was commissioned by NIVEA MEN as part of its “Strength In Numbers” campaign, which, together with Talk Club, aims to give men the tools to start the conversation and check in with their feelings by asking themselves and others, “How are you? Out of 10?”
“Most men find it difficult to open up about their feelings. But simply answering ‘How are you? Out of 10?’ gives them a way to start,” says Ben Akers, co-CEO and co-founder of Talk Club, in a statement.
“We seem to look after our cars better than our minds. But talking about our worries regularly releases the pressure, allowing us to become mentally fitter and in turn mentally stronger. Giving something regular service, makes it less likely to breakdown,” Akers continues. “Remember that it’s ok for our numbers to change – that’s to be expected – but understanding why and being able to talk about it is what can improve them.”
The study also found social events leave two-thirds of men feeling anxious, with two in 10 feeling stressed in the workplace. However, more than seven in 10 feel more relaxed when at home on the weekend and 63 percent feel calm when hanging out with friends.
Mindfulness and regular exercise, as well as breathwork and meditation, were among the more common ways the men maintain their good mental health.
Who do men turn to?
Four in 10 men between 35 and 40 have visited their general practitioner to discuss their mental well-being. Another four in 10 have felt able to open up to a close friend or family member about their feelings.
While many are keen to talk with others, nearly half (47%) feel less comfortable asking other men about their struggles. In these cases, fertility issues are the number one topic that’s off limits. Other subjects men are nervous about discussing include addictions, eating habits, and hair loss.
When asked why they avoid such conversations, one in five don’t want people close to them see their vulnerable side or feel judged. Another 18 percent believe they can handle their struggles on their own.
The research, conducted by OnePoll, also revealed that 57 percent of men would like to see more support available for those struggling with their mental health. Many consider regular conversations with friends and family (30%), talking about your feelings with others (27%), and cutting back on alcohol (22%) as ways they can maintain their mental fitness.
“It saddens us to hear so many men are struggling with their mental health and are uncomfortable with the thought of opening up,” says Emily Marcham from NIVEA MEN.
“It all starts with answering one question; ‘How are you? Out of 10?’. So, why not try it now? Check in with yourself, and check in with others around you, because the truth is that regularly checking in and opening up makes us stronger.”
THINGS THAT HAVE AFFECTED MENTAL HEALTH FOR MEN IN THE LAST 12 MONTHS:
- Health condition
- Poor eating habits
- Work deadlines/ pressures
- Relationship status
- Life goals e.g. career, marriage, mortgage
- Life changes e.g. having kids, job promotion
- Social media
- Fitness plans
- Hair loss
Report by 72Point writer Mustafa Mirreh