MILLIONS of men are at risk of suicidal thoughts with many relying on booze and drugs to cope with feelings of depression, experts have found.
One in ten men report having suicidal feelings, a new study from mental health charity Mind has revealed.
This is up from one in twenty in 2009 and the research found that more than two in five men say they regularly feel worried or low.
The research found that while men generally feel more able to seek help than they did ten years ago.
But those with current worries are relying on coping mechanisms such as booze and drugs.
The study found that 13 per cent are relying on booze alone, compared to 9 per cent 10 years ago.
Four per cent are relying on recreational drugs, up from one per cent 10 years ago.
Despite this, the research found that men are now almost three times as likely to see a therapist if they feel worried or low.
Both women and men are also 35 per cent more likely to see a GP is they are feeling low.
But what can you do it you're worried about your partner? Here are seven signs to look out for if you think your loved one is struggling.
1. Finding it hard to cope with everyday life
Tasks such as work can often feel mundane or laborious for people who are feeling depressed.
Simple acts like doing the laundry may seem laborious if you loved one is feeling depressed.
You’re Not Alone
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You're Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
- CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
- Heads Together,www.headstogether.org.uk
- Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans,www.samaritans.org, 116 123
2. Change in routine
The coronavirus pandemic has meant we have all had a change in routine.
In the run up to Christmas many people will be isolating to make sure they can enjoy the festivities – a change from the usual day to day.
While you're spending more time with loved ones over the Christmas period – it will be more noticeable to see how their behaviours have changed
Things to watch out for are your loved ones eating less or more than normal or even skipping meals.
Others may change how often and when they sleep.
3. Being irritable
Sometimes when people are depressed they find it hard to think about anything else – this makes everything else seem insigificant to them.
If your loved one is snapping at your or is getting annoyed at small things then try and ask them how they are feeling.
If they don't feel comfortable talking to you about these issues then there are online tools and help lines available where they will be able to talk to people.
4. Not wanting to do things they enjoy
The pandemic had meant that for a long time many of us were unable to do things we enjoyed doing.
For people living in Tier 3 areas – this still could be the case. Pubs and restaurants remain closed – but you can see people outside.
While it's difficult to make plans with the people you love at the moment – if your loved one keeps refusing plans and doesn't want to go out then this could be a sign that they are depressed.
5. Putting themselves down
A common trait of someone who is feeling depressed is to belittle themselves.
This could be by chastising themselves for their behaviour or their work.
But they could also put themselves down for the way they look.
6. Losing interest in their appearance
If your loved one is feeling depressed they may start to lose interest in the way they look.
Some people may feel as though there is "no point" in making an effort or looking nice.
This is due to the feeling that they don't matter, so quite often they may push their self care needs back.
7. Being withdrawn
Some people find it hard to communicate if they are feelng depressed and because of this they may become withdrawn.
Your loved one could stop talking to you or become less affectionate towards you.
They may also struggle to hold conversations and may seem to lose interest in what you have to say.
Chief executive of Mind, Paul Farmer, said men are still struggling and need help with their mental health.
"Sometimes they don’t know where to go for help or what’s on offer might not be suitable for them.
"The challenges facing men are likely to be compounded by the pandemic as well as the economic recession, not least because we know that men’s mental health tends to be more affected by unemployment", he said.
The survey also found that 32 per cent of men would prefer face-to-face therapy.
The report urged the government to co-produce mental health services with communities, including men, to make sure that effective support is available locally and meets men’s needs.
It also states that men should continue to be a key target audience for suicide prevention action nationally and locally and the Government should set both national and local targets for suicide reduction.
The findings are part of the "Get It Off Your Chest" research programme, in conjunction with the English Football League (EFL).
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