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Untold problems on the streets

The MHF's review of the most important issues in male mental health of men and boys, Untold Problems is online now. It was formally launched at the National Mental Health Equalities Conference at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre on Wednesday 24 February.

Untold Problems cover images

MHF policy officer David Wilkins, who put the report together, said: 'This review is about the mental health of men and boys. We believe it is the first time that the relevant evidence has been brought together and considered in this way.

'It considers mental health from a male perspective, explores how good mental health can be achieved and maintained and looks at the kinds of mental health problems that men and boys experience. Looking ahead to the next step, a good practice guide, it asks how services can most effectively respond.'

The conference, Equalities in Mental Health 2010, is now fully booked. Run by the National Mental Health Development Unit (NMHDU), it will highlight the evidence, policy and practice drawn from the National Strategic Framework era. It will also consider what the NMHDU describe as 'the important question of how we can work together to acheive our shared vision of a fair inclusive society attuned to the needs of individuals whatever age, background or circumstance'.

Your suggestions

The Men’s Health Forum and Mind have also been commissioned by the NMHDU to write a guide on how to meet the mental health needs of men identified in Untold Problems. To do this, we need your suggestions. Full story here: Help us solve Untold Problems

Principles for the future

Although Untold Problems makes no specific recommendations, it identifies a number of ideas and principles that should be taken into account when future actions are planned:

  • A cross-cutting approach is crucial. Improving and maintaining the mental health of men is not just a function of mental health services.
  • Simply being male could – and should – be seen as a primary risk factor for several
  • specific mental health problems.
  • Depression may be under-diagnosed in men.
  • Many men who need help may not say so, and some may come to notice in ways that do not encourage a sympathetic response.
  • It is important to find ways of improving boys’ educational performance because poor educational outcomes militate against good mental health
  • It is important to support and encourage fathers, especially those in the most adverse circumstances.
  • Male-specific helpline services may have something to offer.
  • Early intervention should be part of the solution. Encouraging boys to become more sensitive to their own emotional needs and the emotional needs of those around them will not solve all the problems but it has the potential to help considerably.
  • Boys and men need to be allowed to explore a less narrow version of masculinity. This is not a magic wand but it has the potential to help.
  • Poor working practices contribute to poor mental health.
  • Many men in prison have had adverse childhood experiences and are suffering from psychological problems. Public safety must remain paramount but there is a strong case for more thoughtful assessment and treatment of some prisoners.
  • Several specific forms psychological distress have particular importance for men and need to be considered from a male perspective.

Download Untold Problems here.

Read Mental Health Today magazine's feature article about Untold Problems.

Page created on February 18th, 2010

Page updated on January 25th, 2013