Mental health was the focus of this year’s Men’s Health Week organised by the Men’s Health Forum with events taking place all over the country.
Official figures suggest that 14% of men in England have some form of mental illness and one survey found that 11% of men had a neurotic disorder such as anxiety, depression, phobias and panic attacks.
Evidence also suggests that when severe mental illness occurs, there are important differences between men and women. While men are just as likely as women to be affected by bipolar disorder, their experience of the illness is often different. Men are more likely to get it earlier in life and it is associated with a more severe condition.
Men are also more likely to have a psychotic disorder than women and symptoms appear in men years before they do in women. They are also more likely to have subtle symptoms such as a lack of will and energy. These are difficult to treat and men overall are less responsive to medication.
The implications for recovery are that men are more likely to have symptoms that persist and to have more personal troubles such as being unemployed or homeless. People who already have a mental illness are also at greater risk of suicide, and men are three times more likely to commit suicide than women.
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