Raising awareness of men's mental health

This month, Daran Bailey, Aster Foundation’s Wellness and Resilience Programme Lead and qualified Psychotherapist shares some top tips on raising awareness of how to support men with mental health worries.

Encouraging a man to seek support for his mental health can be challenging, especially if he is hesitant or resistant.

As a mental health trainer and Psychotherapist, I often get asked the question “How can I get my partner to seek help when he is saying that he is OK?”. As a man I have often struggled to ask for it myself so here are a few helpful ways that my partner has always used to help me.

Here are some strategies to help:

1. Create a safe and non-judgmental environment

  • Listen actively: Show empathy and understanding without interrupting or judging. Let him know his feelings are valid and important.
  • Be patient: Give him time to open up. He may need to feel completely safe before he shares his struggles.

2. Normalise mental health issues

  • Share stories: Discuss mental health openly, perhaps sharing your own experiences or stories of others especially famous sportspeople who have sought help successfully.
  • Educate: Provide information about mental health and its importance. Sometimes understanding that mental health issues are common and treatable can reduce the stigma.

3. Encourage professional help

  • Suggest therapy: Frame therapy as a normal, healthy choice rather than a sign of weakness. Highlight the benefits of professional support.
  • Offer assistance: Help him find a therapist or mental health professional. Sometimes the process can be overwhelming, and a little assistance can make a big difference.

4. Address concerns and misconceptions

  • Debunk myths: Address any misconceptions he might have about therapy or mental health treatment. For example, explain that you see seeking help as a sign of strength, not weakness.
  • Discuss confidentiality: Reassure him that mental health professionals are bound by confidentiality agreements, ensuring his privacy.

5. Encourage small steps

  • Start small: Encourage him to take small steps towards seeking help, such as reading articles, joining online forums, or attending a support group meeting.
  • Gradual involvement: Suggest starting with less intimidating options, like talking to a primary care doctor, who can then refer him to a specialist.

6. Support his efforts

  • Be supportive: Show appreciation for any effort he makes towards improving his mental health. Celebrate every win even if it's as simple as making a cup of tea, Positive reinforcement can motivate him to continue.
  • Participate together: Offer to accompany him to appointments or engage in activities that promote mental well-being together, such as exercising, going for a walk in the countryside or practising mindfulness.

7. Emphasise the benefits

  • Highlight positive outcomes: Talk about the potential benefits of seeking help, such as improved mood, better relationships, and overall well-being.
  • Focus on goals: Discuss how addressing mental health can help him achieve his personal and professional goals.

8. Provide resources

  • Offer information: Provide brochures, websites, or books about mental health. Sometimes having resources at hand from organisations like Mind can make the idea of seeking help more tangible.
  • Emergency contacts: Ensure he has access to crisis hotlines or emergency contacts in case he needs immediate help.

9. Lead by example

  • Model behaviour: If you prioritise your mental health and seek support when needed, it can encourage him to do the same.
  • Share positive experiences: If you’ve had positive experiences with therapy or counselling, share them to reduce his apprehension.

10. Stay involved

  • Check in regularly: Regularly ask him how he’s doing and express your ongoing support. This reinforces that you care about his well-being.
  • Celebrate progress: Acknowledge and celebrate any steps he takes towards seeking help, no matter how small.

Remember to practice self-care for yourself and offer faith in him that with the right steps, he will get through it.

 By approaching the situation with empathy, patience, and support, you can help them to feel more comfortable and motivated to seek the mental health support they need.

Back to latest news listings