Samaritans Ireland call for a national plan on men’s mental health

Justin Kelly

Reporter:

Justin Kelly

Email:

justin.kelly@iconicnews.ie

Calls made for a national plan on men’s mental health

Calls made for a national plan on men’s mental health

Samaritans Ireland is calling for a national plan for men’s mental health as part of efforts to encourage men and boys to take good care of their mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Samaritans Ireland is making its call as part of Men’s Health Awareness Week (Monday, June 15 to Sunday, June 21). The week aims to raise awareness of preventable health problems, support men and boys to live healthier lives, and encourage them to seek help or treatment early.

Measures to support men’s mental health is also one of the key asks in Samaritans 4 Asks 4 A Safer Ireland as part of its 2020 Manifesto.

Niall Mulligan, Executive Director of Samaritans Ireland, said: “As we begin Men’s Health Awareness Week, it is important we focus on the issue of men’s mental health and emotional wellbeing. From our research, Samaritans know that less than 20% of men over the age of 18, who are experiencing mental health difficulties will seek help from a mental health professional, and less than 35% will speak to their GP during a tough period.

"In particular, middle-aged men on low incomes have been the highest risk group for suicide over many years. Far too little is known about what really works to support these men when they begin to struggle. To address this situation, we need a specific well-resourced national plan, for reaching and supporting all men’s mental health, and in particular, middle-aged, low-income men.”

A recent report by Samaritans, ‘Out of sight, out of mind: Why less well-off, middle-aged men don’t get the support they need’ focused on the lived experience of men, looking at what support men in this at-risk group want from services when they are struggling.

Niall Mulligan added: “The men Samaritans spoke to had been struggling for years with poor mental health, suicidal thoughts and feelings. Despite experiencing many well-known risk factors for this group, opportunities to help them at critical points before they reached crisis were missed. Crucially, the men we spoke to didn't view community-based support services, focused on fostering connection and community, as relevant to them before they reached crisis. At a time when the latest CSO suicide statistics for the Republic of Ireland, confirm an increase in annual suicides of 69 (352 in 2018; 421 in 2019), and with every 3 in 4 suicides being men, the need for a well-resourced, national plan, to reach and support men at high risk of suicide is now critical.”