Skip navigation

Improving Mental Health Services for Men: News, Updates and Presentations

Chaired by Martin Tod Chief Executive Men’s Health Forum today’s conference looked at improving mental health services for men, delivering ‘male friendly’ and culturally sensitive services to meet the specific requirements of different groups of men and boys. 

Jane Powell CEO Campaign Against Living Miserably, CALM opened the conference with a national address.

How to make IAPT/primary care psychology services work for men
Dr Jon Freeman Clinical Psychologist – Lead for Long Term Conditions LIFT Psychology Swindon and Frances Mayes Senior Public Health Manager Public Health, Swindon Borough Council

Click here for the full presentation 

In her presentation Jane stated: 

"Men are better at suicide. Men are impulsive. They drink more and don't see their GP. 42% of men under 45 have considered suicide."

"Causes of suicide include relationship breakdown, work/money, health and mental health problems."

"More women attempt suicide but men take methods that are more likely to succeed."

"The problem is with middle-aged men rather than all men"

"Men and women equally consider suicide but women are more likely to talk to people. We need to look at how to engage with men."

"In 2013 78% of all suicides in 2013 were male. It’s the single biggest killer of men 20-45. And we can see the numbers going up and down – so this it isn’t ‘just biology’."

"The expectations of the male gender need to be changed."

"The spread of our callers has been wide, even though our ‘brand’ is useful.    As a brand our need is to establish who we are and what we do.  Nike are worn by men over the age of 25 – simply because the brand is aimed at a particular audience doesn’t mean only that audience use it.  Brand is about being clear of who you are.  We’re clear we take calls from all ages."

How to make IAPT / primary care psychology services work for men
Dr Jon Freeman Clinical Psychologist - Lead for Long Term Conditions LIFT Psychology Swindon 
with Frances Mayes Senior Public Health Manager Public Health, Swindon Borough Council

Click here for the full presentation

In there presentation Jon and Frances stated: 

"Locally the JSNA found that 35% of the LIFT Psychology new referrals were male.  In secondary care referrals were more even between males and females but males were over-represented in Assertive Outreach, Early Intervention and Crisis services and under represented in Recovery and Community teams."

“Zero Suicide initiative in the South West, pledge to focus on suicide prevent in men, SOBS engaging with men project, Football fans in training and LIFT psychology men only stress course”

"Men-specific course appears very accessible. Can be a way in for those who wouldn’t ordinarily access / engage with Ψ support"

How to make mental health services work for 
Chris Stein Senior Man MOT Project Officer Men’s Health Network

Ahead of his presentation Chris said; “There has long been a recognition that a gendered approach has supported the effective delivery of mental health services for females and more recently health professionals, academics and service users have been expressing the same interest in delivering mental health services in a more male tailored way. Before launching into tailoring mental health services to the needs of men, it is important to have an understanding of the challenges faced.”

In his presentation Chris looked at the current situation including a discussion of the gender differences in presentation of mental health distress. The session then move into research conducted by the Institute for Health and Wellbeing at Leeds Beckett University on what works for engaging men, and finished with what success looks like going forward.

Click here for the full presentation 

In his presentation Chris stated: 

"Men's mental health is not where it could, or should, be."

"With evolving gender roles and changing expectations on men, the picture of men’s health is in ever changing flux, therefore can only reliably address the past and present while acknowledging that dynamics will impact these figures."

"Health Outcomes - 1 in 5 die before the age of 65, Life expectancy 79.1 years, as opposed to 83 for women, Men account for 71% of CVD deaths under the age of 65, Men are nearly three times more likely than women  to become alcohol dependent and 78% of all suicides are men."

"95% of prison population is male.72% of male prisoners suffer from 2 or more mental health disorders."

"How men are viewed and how they view themselves is a big issue that needs to be changed."

"Gender equality is perceived that only women are at a disadvantage - this perception needs to change."

"Men with mental health issues feel a level of self-stigma in the workplace. We can hypothesise about the impact this might have on those individuals."

"If all service users are treated as individuals that should also lead to a greater recognition of the shared needs and experiences of groups and communities in general."

"There is significant scope to prioritise the development of happy, well-adjusted children. The vision and implementation of this should be shared across r health, education and social service providers."

"It's important to focus on boys in their early years."

"Men who find help-seeking difficult are not going to change in the short term – but mental health services can."

"People around the person are likely to remain a crucial element in the decision-making process for many individual men"

“Men in mental distress often exhibit difficulties in other areas of their life and functioning. Joined-up approaches which include the involvement of social care, employment, and housing providers may be of particular value for men, who sometimes lack supportive networks of their own.”

“Training in relation to the most important issues in male mental health may be particularly useful, given the range of the issues that have been identified.”

"Men would rather have a personal "goal" than a generalised helping process, regardless of how accommodating and effective that process is known to be.  Approaches based on cognitive behavioural therapy may be particularly useful in this respect."

"Activity-based interventions have proved consistently successful at engaging men.  Evidence suggests that, by and large, men prefer coming together to "do something".  Activity-based interventions help address stigma by not being overtly about mental health.  They also facilitate openness of expression by allowing relationships to develop, and discussion to arise, in a more natural way.  Men may also benefit from activity-based interventions by being able to "give" skills and experience as well as "take" advice and support."

"The setting for an intervention should be a "safe male space".  Generally this means somewhere familiar that qualifies as in some way "male friendly".  Some settings stand out consistently as appealing to certain groups.  Examples include: schools - particularly for younger boys; physical activity or sports settings for young and middle-aged men; and the workplace for those in work.  Carefully planned "virtual" settings may work for some groups of young men."

"Interventions incorporating an element of peer support show promise for effective working with men.  This may be because the sense of having experiences in common reduces the perceived threat to the masculinity of the man being supported.  Peer support programmes can also have a positive impact on the well-being of those men providing the support."

"It appears probable that positive media stories about men with mental health problems may encourage help-seeking among the male audience.  Stories about hope and recovery seem most likely to have this effect, especially where they feature men who are either admired in some way or who can be easily identified with."

"Mature and successful interventions often do more than provide a service.  They work towards positive social change and engage in constructive challenge to mainstream services where that is necessary.  They also often act to challenge stigma and exclusion.  These objectives are particularly important in the drive to improve male uptake of services."

"Thinking on male mental health but the field is still hampered by the shortage of good research.  Most interventions record data about their users and some will try to find ways of measuring outcomes.  It is crucial that we move beyond just keeping records to satisfy commissioners.  Good practice depends on making information about interventions widely available, even if their intervention has not worked.  This enables good practice to be replicated and helps avoid the repetition of approaches that have been shown not to work."

EXTENDED SESSION: Mental Health Promotion and Early Intervention 
Professor Steve Robertson Professor of Men, Gender and Health Co-Director The Centre for Men’s Health Editor-in-Chief International Journal of Men’s Health

In his presentation Steve mentioned Channel 4's Grayson Perry: All Man 3 part series. Grayson Perry visits ultra-male worlds to explore how contemporary masculinity shapes the lives and expectations of men in Britain today, while reflecting on his own identity and prejudices. 

Watch the series on catch up here 

Future events of interest:

Improving Mental Health Crisis Care: Maintaining Momentum
Wednesday 22 June 2016 
Hallam Conference Centre, London

Mental Health, Ill Health & Personality Disorder
Thursday 23 June 2016 
ICO Conference Centre, London

Improving Physical Health for People with Mental Health Conditions
Tuesday 5 July 2016 
Hallam Conference Centre, London

Psychological Therapies for Severe & Prolonged Mental Illness
Tuesday 5 July 2016 
ICO Conference Centre, London

Introduction to Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy
Friday 8 July 2016 
Hallam Conference Centre, London

Towards Zero Suicide: Preventing Suicide, Saving Lives
Thursday 15 September 2016 
ICO Conference Centre, London

Sexual Abuse & Mental Health - Reducing the impact of abuse on mental health
Tuesday 20 September 2016 
Hallam Conference Centre, London

Psychosis & Schizophrenia in Adults
Friday 30 September 2016 
Hallam Conference Centre, London

Delivering Excellence in Recovery Oriented Services in Mental Health
Tuesday 4 October 2016 
Hallam Conference Centre, London

Smoking Cessation in Mental Health
Friday 21 October 2016 
De Vere West One, London

Psychological Therapies in the NHS
Wednesday 15 March 2017 — Thursday 16 March 
Millenium Conference Centre, London


19 May 2016


    Partner Organisations

    The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation TrustInPracticeClinical Audit Support CentrePlayoutJust For Nurses
    GGI (Good Governance Institute) accredited conferences CPD Member BADS (British Association of Day Surgery) accredited conferences