My role


Men and mental health - the numbers

Despite men and women experiencing mental health problems in roughly equal numbers, men are much less likely to be diagnosed and treated for it and the consequences of this can be fatal1  – the MHF has long highlighted that 75% of all suicides are by men and that 73% of people who go missing are men2.

The Health & Social Care Information Centre 2009 household survey found that about 2.7 million men in England currently have a mental health problem like depression, anxiety or stress.

Mind research has found that 37% of men are feeling worried or low with the top three concerns being job security, work and money. One in seven men may develop depression within six months of being made redundant3

Men less frequently attend primary care services, including dental services, ophthalmic services and pharmacy, as well as GP surgeries4. Men are also in a minority of those who use telephone advice and help lines provided by healthcare charities5. Men have measurably lower access to the social support of friends, relatives and community6.

Men are more likely to suffer from personality disorders (5.4% of men compared to 3.4% of women)7.

Prisoners and homeless

90% of rough sleepers are men8. Homeless men (70% of the single homeless population), die at much younger ages, particularly from 30 to 64, thus, 30 years before the average population9.

Men make up 94% of the prison population10. 72% of male sentenced prisoners suffer from two or more mental disorders and 62% of male sentenced prisoners have a personality disorder11.


The Office for National Statistics counts 4,552 male suicides in the UK for 2011, compared to only 1,493 female suicides. The highest suicide rate was in males aged 30 to 44 and in those aged 45 to 59 the suicide rate has increased significantly between 2007 and 201112.

According to the latest suicide prevention strategy for England, males are three times as likely to take their own life as females. Among the high-risk groups are young and middle-aged men, people in the care of mental health services, people with a history of self-harm and people in contact with the criminal justice system13.

Alcohol & Drugs

Men are more than twice as likely to suffer from an alcohol use disorder (38% of men compared with 16% of women), and three times as likely to be in the most severe category of alcohol dependence (6% of men compared to 2% of women)14.

According to a study by the UCL Department of Epidemiology and Public Health 44% of men and 31% of women drink more than the weekly guidelines15.

There are more alcohol-related deaths in males than in females, with 67% of all alcohol related deaths in the UK in 2010 being male16.
Men are also around twice as likely to regularly use all types of illicit drugs; among adults aged 16 – 59, the reported use of any illicit drug over the past twelve months was 13% for men and 7% for women17.

Mind research found that young men (18 to 24) are five times as likely to take recreational drugs when worried as young women (5 per cent of men compared to 1 per cent of women)18.

79% of drug-related deaths occur in men19.


Boys are performing less well than girls at all levels of education20.

Boys are 4 times more likely to be diagnosed as having a behavioural, emotional or
social difficulty

Over 80% of children permanently excluded from school are boys22.



1 Wilkins, D. Untold Problems: A review of the essential issues in the mental health of men and boys. London: Men’s Health Forum 2010.
2 Biehal, N., Wade, J. and Mitchell F. Lost from view: Missing persons in the UK. Bristol: Policy Press 2003.
3 Kivimaki, M. (2007) cited in: Mind. Men and mental health: Get it off your chest. London: Mind 2009.
4 White A. The State of Men’s Health in Europe (Extended Report). Brussels: European Commission 2011.
5 Men’s Health Forum. Men and long-term health conditions: a policy briefing paper. London: Men’s Health Forum 2007.
6 Boreham, R., Stafford, M. and Taylor, R. Health Survey for England 2000: Social capital and health. London: The Stationery Office 2000.
Pevalin, D. and Rose, D.: Social Capital for Health: Investigating the link between social capital and health using the British Household Panel Survey. London: Health Development Agency 2003.
7 Rethink. Personality disorders factsheet. London: Rethink 2009.
8 Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions. Rough sleeping, the government strategy. London: Rough Sleepers Unit 1999.
9 Crisis. Homelessness: A silent killer. A research briefing on mortality amongst homeless people. London: Crisis 2011.
10 Ministry of Justice. Population in custody: Monthly tables, March 2009. England and Wales. London: Ministry of Justice 2009.
11 Social Exclusion Unit. Mental Health and Social Exclusion. London: Office of the Deputy Prime Minister 2004.
12 Office for National Statistics. Suicides in the United Kingdom, 2011. ONS 2013.
13 Mental Health and Disability Division. Preventing suicide in England. A cross-government outcomes strategy to save lives. Department of Health: London 2012.
14 Granville, G. 'Alcohol misuse': in Wilkins, D., Payne, S., Granville, G., and Branney, P. The gender and access to health services study. London: Department of Health 2008.
15 Boniface, S., Shelton, N., UCL Department of Epidemiology and Public Health. How is alcohol consumption affected if we account for under-reporting? A hypothetical scenario. European Journal of Public Health, OUP: London 2013.
16 Office for National Statistics. Alcohol-related deaths in the UK, 2010 ONS 2012.
17 NHS Information Centre. Statistics on drug misuse: England 2008. London: NHS Information Centre 2008.
18 Mind. Men and mental health: Get it off your chest. London: Mind 2009.
19 The Information Centre for Health and Social Care. Statistics on Drug Misuse: England, 2008. Leeds: NHS Information Centre 2009.
20 Department for Children, Schools and Families. GCSE and equivalent examination results in England 2007/08 (revised). London: Office for National Statistics; 2009.
21 Department for Education and Skills. Gender and education: the evidence on pupils in England. Nottingham DfES Publications 2007.
22 Department for Children, Schools and Families, Assembly for Wales and the Scottish Executive cited at The Poverty Site, Joseph Rowntree Foundation 2008.


Page created on May 10th, 2013

Page updated on June 4th, 2013