Kaleidoscope & Paycare: helping men access health support
25 Oct 2023
Published in: Member News
We look at the issues surrounding men's wellbeing.
Men’s health – and in particular their wellbeing – has been a source of concern for many years. While the medical cause of depression and other conditions may be exactly the same as for women, we know there are two significant differing factors: symptoms they experience much more commonly, and a reluctance to access support.
Male wellbeing symptoms:
Typically, there are some symptoms which are more likely to be seen among men experiencing mental ill health or a dip in their wellbeing. These can include irritability, sudden anger, and increased loss of control, risk-taking and aggression.
There are also higher numbers of men who go missing, sleep rough, or become dependent on alcohol or drugs as a direct result of the wellbeing issues they are experiencing.
Sadly, three times as many men die by suicide as women – and those in the 40 to 49 age group are most at risk of suicide or suicidal thoughts. (More information about these statistics is available from the Mental Health Foundation).
Only around a third of people who access talking therapies via the NHS are men, and we know from the National Pharmacy Association that men typically visit their GP an average of four times a year (compared to six for women) and are also likely to see a pharmacist four times annually (compared to 18 for women).
A wealth of research has found a major reason for this disparity is related to commonly-held (but absolutely not substantiated) beliefs about traditional male gender roles: that men are ‘resilient and independent’ rather than needing to seek medical treatment which is seen as passive and therefore more ‘feminine’.
Of course, there are differences across demographics such as age, social class and ethnicity – but on the whole, it’s clear that more needs to be done to support men to seek the support of professionals, and to do so at the earliest possible opportunity so that they can access preventative healthcare more frequently.
How can Kaleidoscope help?
The fantastic team at our partner charity Kaleidoscope Plus Group are experts in all things mental health, offering everything from suicide support to residential care and counselling for those who need it from their HQ in Sandwell.
Their Head of Operations Faye Brecknock explains: “As a charity, we do not diagnose any mental health condition, instead we support people with their behaviours and feelings, so they can identify the right intervention for them. For some men it may be exercise, others, talking, but we are not here to give advice, we know people all need something different to live a happy, healthy life.
“At The Kaleidoscope Plus Group, we know that managing mental ill health is not ‘one size fits all’ and are here to support every individual, not apply a blanket approach, or simply signpost. We have specialist teams who connect people to the right support they need.
“This could be attending one of our Lads Chat evenings, enrolling on a psycho-education programme, speaking to our counselling team, or texting TeamKPG to 85258 for immediate support.
“If you are a person who is worried about a man in your life and want to be able to offer support, we recommend attending one of our Mental Health First Aid Courses, where you will learn how to provide non-judgemental support and reassurance to a loved one or colleague.
“Our ‘top tip’ for men out there reading this who haven’t been themselves lately, is to schedule in some time for yourself. What makes you the happiest? Set aside an hour or half a day to do something that gives you joy. And of course – reach out and share how you are feeling.
“Our team are always here to support and listen and you can contact us at the Kaleidoscope by e mailing email@example.com or call 0121 565 5605, where you will be connected with the right service. We are here when you need us.”
Thank you to Kaleidoscope for their insight into some of the support they can offer – and thanks for all the hard work you undertake ensuring there are a range of services out there, not just for men who need it, but for anyone.
Paycare’s mission is to support the health and happiness of the UK through a range of Health Cash Plans designed to ease financial pressure and promote a proactive approach to wellbeing. Find out more about our Plans for individuals and organisations at www.paycare.org/health-cash-plans. As a not-for-profit, we’ve been investing in our communities since 1874, so you can rest assured you’re not only supporting yourself and your family – you’re also positively impacting the health and happiness of others too.
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