Lockdown restrictions have impacted men’s mental health – Samaritans

Ella Pickover, PA Health Correspondent
·2-min read

Social restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic have affected men’s mental health, a leading charity has said.

Samaritans said that two in five men believe their mental health has been negatively affected by lockdown measures.

It conducted a poll of 2,000 men aged 18 to 59 and found that 42% said their mental health had been negatively impacted.

The charity’s survey – released to mark its new campaign Real People, Real Stories – also found that 40% of men said that talking to others had helped with concerns or worries during lockdown.

This shows the importance of reaching out for support when it is needed, the charity said.

More than half of men (56%) surveyed said hey are feeling worried or anxious as restrictions ease.

The new campaign features men sharing how they have overcome tough times by calling Samaritans for free on 116 123 or visiting samaritans.org for self-help tools and information.

Paul McDonald, executive director of external affairs at the charity, said: “This pandemic has brought unexpected change and uncertainty, which will have a lasting impact on everyone’s mental health and wellbeing.

“At Samaritans we know that less well off, middle-aged men have remained the highest risk group for suicide in the UK for decades and that the restrictions put in place during lockdown such as isolation and disconnection will have exacerbated problems for these men.

“We understand the value of listening and the power of human connection, particularly at this time when so many people are dealing with overwhelming thoughts and feelings.

“We know that sharing stories of recovery does encourage men to seek help, so we hope that our Real People, Real Stories campaign can help other men to see that they can do it too and know that Samaritans is always there when they want to talk.”

One of the supporters of the campaign, Martin, from Hertfordshire, found himself struggling when he was in his early 30s after experiencing difficulties at work and getting into financial trouble.

He was introduced to a walking group for football supporters where he was able to talk about his experience.

The 52-year-old said: “After meeting a Samaritans volunteer at a walk and talk, I felt so relieved to have spoken to someone about my mental health, particularly as they had also experienced difficulties.

“It was a chat between two men with football in common, which led to talking about everyday things before drifting to mental health issues.

“Speaking to others on the walk who had been through tough times was really helpful, as they had some understanding of where you have been mentally.”