Men’s mental health and Covid: what should we be aware of?

Whether you’re a father, son, husband, uncle or brother, talking about your mental wellbeing may not come easily.

In fact, many men still feel uncomfortable opening up about their own mental wellbeing with research suggesting that around 67% men have felt stressed or overwhelmed within the last 12 months, yet referral to professional services still lag behind those of women.

With the world being firmly held in the grip of a global pandemic, the topic of this year’s Men’s Mental Health Week focused on the challenges many men are facing now that we begin to emerge into a world that we no longer 100% recognise. Inevitably, some men are already suffering from the stress and anxiety caused by enforced lockdowns, job losses and requests to return to the workplace.

Men’s Mental Health Week has set out to remove the stigma associated with opening up to others and reaching out for help. Unfortunately, there are still a worryingly high number of men who die from suicide and far fewer men seeking treatment for depression, anxiety and other mental health challenges.

If you’re concerned that a male partner, friend, work colleague or family member is struggling with their mental wellbeing, know you aren’t alone. Here are a few red flags to be aware of and what you can do to help:

 Changes in mood, energy levels and appetite

Men who do not open up about their mental health often exhibit certain changes in mood that are easily recognised by those closest to them.

Changes in appetite such as under or overeating are a sign that all is not well, as is a lack of motivation or energy to take part in activities that they usually enjoyed before Covid. If this is a combination of behaviours that you see in your male friend or relative, it could be a red flag.

 A change in family or social life

If your usually vibrant friend has started to shy away from social occasions or your male partner is failing to engage with the rest of their family as they did before the pandemic, it could be that depression or anxiety has started to creep in.

Health & Wellbeing Ambassador Trudi Scrivener recently offered up some great suggestions for improving mental health this year, such as talking to strangers, joining a hobby group or talking to an old friend. Head over to her guest blog here for some ideas you could suggest if you are worried that someone’s mental health has taken a downturn.

Compulsive behaviour

One way that mental health issues can be detected is by knowing the signs of compulsive behaviour.

If your male relative, colleague or friend has started to require perfect order or symmetry, this is an outward sign that they’re struggling with post-lockdown life and trying to regain some form of control through compulsive actions that are out of character.

If this sounds familiar, reach out to them with a sympathetic ear or pass on details of third party charities such as Man Health who are on hand every evening to offer confidential help, support and advice on all issues relating to male mental wellness.

We are asking as many people as possible in Buckinghamshire to try the #CANDOChallenge , a great way to boost your mental wellbeing and help your favourite charity.