Figures which were released last month from the mental health charity, Mind have revealed that men are twice as likely to have nobody to rely on for emotional support compared to women.
The data shows that one in twenty women currently feels like they have nobody they can talk to and one in ten men feel this way as well. However, half of men surveyed admit to feeling uncomfortable talking about their emotions compared to two in five women who say the same.
Research also showed that men are more reliant upon their partners when they need emotional support, whereas women are more likely to turn to friends and family.
Mind is currently running a two-year scheme which is looking into the benefits of peer support when battling a mental illness. Speaking about their decision to do this, the chief executive of the charity, Paul Farmer commented:
“We know that sometimes life can be tough when it feels like you’ve got nobody there for you who understands. This is particularly true when you experience a mental health problem. Peer support provides a fantastic opportunity to use difficult experiences as an asset to support and be supported by other people who have experienced mental health problems.”
Why it’s important to talk to other people when you have mental health problems
It can help determine a cause
Whether you’re suffering from depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, an addiction or an eating disorder, talking about it can help you to understand its origin. It can also help deal with the negative thoughts and feelings you’re experiencing and contribute to making the positive changes you need in order to start recovery.
It can help stop problems getting worse
Regardless of whether you speak to a trusted friend or a professional counsellor, talking is one of the most effective ways of dealing with mental health problems.
When we keep our feelings to ourselves, they tend to fester and as we get increasingly overwhelmed by them, our problems become worse. For example, when suffering from depression a person may end up turning to drugs or alcohol as a way of coping. Many addictions start this way.
Talking to a stranger can be easier
One reason why men in particular find it so difficult to open up to loved ones is because they’re embarrassed to admit how they’re feeling. Sadly, many of us still assume that others will think less of us if we’re struggling to cope or if we’re hiding an addiction so it can feel easier to open up to a counsellor or therapist.
It helps ease the burden
Trying to hide mental health problems places a heavy weight upon one’s shoulders. Talking about it can help to clarify the things that are worrying us and make them less scary.
Someone outside of the situation can be more objective and offer solutions and suggestions you hadn’t thought of.
Who can you talk to when you have a mental health condition?
- A trusted friend or family member - open up to someone close to you, even if it’s just one person. The extra support can make a difference and aid the recovery process.
- A work colleague - talking to a work colleague can also be beneficial. It still provides you with someone to talk to and, if it’s a manager, they can be more understanding if your work is sometimes affected by your condition.
- Your GP - if you think you could be suffering from a mental health condition, your GP should ideally be one of the first people you speak to. They will be able to officially diagnose you and advise what your next step should be.
- A counsellor - therapy can significantly help the recovery process for those suffering from an addiction or mental illness..
- The Samaritans - if you suspect that you or someone you know could be feeling depressed or suicidal, you can phone the Samaritans for free 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Life Works - if you think that you or someone you know could be suffering with a mental illness, please feel free to visit our Depression and Anxiety Treatment Programme page for more information about the signs, symptoms and treatments available. Alternatively, you can also contact us in the strictest of confidence.