Alcohol and men’s mental health

This post follows on from the sentiments expressed in my writings from last week. (Please click here for a link to that blog post concerning mental health in men.) In this post, for those of you that have not read it, I highlighted recent statistics…

  • Only 36% of referrals to psychological therapies are for men.
  • Suicide is the biggest cause of death for men under the age of 45.
  • Of all the suicides recorded in the UK in 2014, 76% were male. This can also be found through-out the last three decades.

I cited the stigma associated with mental illness as part of the explanation as to why this was the case. Today I’d like to share with you another statistic that I have since come across.

  • Men are 3 times more likely than women to become alcohol dependent.

There’s no skirting round the issue that very few men speak openly and honestly about the state of their mental health – I know that even I’m not as honest as I’d like to be in everyday life. Consequently, men learn to deal with their problems another way. First and foremost alcohol is a coping mechanism, yet it is also one that frequently gets out of hand.

Maybe you’ve had some experience of this, have you seen this too?

“Men and younger men in particular, are more likely to avoid talking about their feelings [and] more likely to self-medicate, to drink, smoke and avoid the issue rather than actually go, ‘OK, I need to find the words to do something about this.” – Paul Farmer, CEO of Mind, the mental health charity.

And yet, these problems in relation to self-medicating, anger, violence and drugs, can be alleviated if we diminish the inherent societal pressures present through-out society, demanding that men “man-up”.

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21 Comments Add yours

  1. Great post! I couldn’t agree more. I share the same message with male students in my psychology class.

    1. M_McKeen says:

      Thank you! And good thinking! How do they respond to the idea when you share it with them?

      1. Very well! I create a very safe and supportive atmosphere for students. I wrote about it here: https://drandreadinardo.com/2016/10/09/i-believe-in-you/

        So in addition to the message, they know that when and if they need counselling – I am the bridge that takes them there.

        Which happens often in my class – male and female college students equally.

      2. M_McKeen says:

        Thanks for sharing this with me. I shall take a look! I’m pleased to hear that you’ve had good reactions! 🙂

  2. Lusuna says:

    I’m really enjoying your posts about male’s mental illness, it’s good that you can use your blog to talk openly about these things and hopefully that will start getting rid of the stigma!

    1. M_McKeen says:

      Thanks so much!! Really appreciate the message of support. Male mental health is something I’ve been meaning to write about for a while, and I have finally just got round to doing it. I really do hope so!

  3. Ariel Lynn says:

    Reblogged this on Writing Radiation and commented:
    Drinking & men’s mental health issues might go hand in hand… what do you think?

    1. M_McKeen says:

      Thanks for the reblog! 🙂

  4. Great job continuing to bring awareness to men’s mental health. Focusing on alcohol dependence is so important. It affects countless men and families. Keep it up Matt!

    1. M_McKeen says:

      Thank you!! The effects of alcohol is definitely something we don’t consider often enough.

  5. Great post, Matt! Sorry it took me so long to read!

    1. M_McKeen says:

      No worries B. Thank you! 🙂

  6. Rob says:

    As a man currently in a 6 week VA residential Treatment Center for Alcoholism, I liked your post. Now are you writing about UK, or USA? I don’t feel that stigma as much as I used to. It might obviously be that, being a Veteran, there is much more empathy, I am not really sure. This is the first time I have ever sought treatment for my addiction, but I can tell you from personal experience, the VA Program I am in is pretty exceptional, and I am glad they do not make me feel this way.

    1. M_McKeen says:

      Thank you for sharing your story. I live in the UK, so I guess my post relates to here more than the USA. I think we can feel stigma even when it’s not there. Our state of mind plays a huge part in it too. I’m glad you’ve experienced good treatment, just wish there more programs out there like you speak about!

  7. Great thoughts and Info on men’s struggles. I guess society expect men to be “macho” or “man up ” as you said. So many men bottle things up. In the end it becomes a pent up feeling and frustration and alcohol is one way men let out the steam. Unfortunately it can become an addiction which ends up affecting other areas of such a person’s life. As a woman I’d like to say hey guys…its ok to fall short sometimes, none of us are perfect in ourselves. So do your best but don’t get too worked up trying to meet society’s expectation…just be you. And please i know women find it easy to talk about everything…whether it makes sense or not…frustating for men many times…hahaha. Ok the idea is this please talk to someone don’t bottle up, you’ll find out other people are struggling with the same things and not just you

    1. M_McKeen says:

      Sorry haven’t been on here as often as I’d like lately. Thanks for the positive feedback, I couldn’t agree with you more. The best way to work through it is open and honest communication.

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