How to help the men in your life open up about their worries

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Did you know…

The theme for International Men’s Day on November 19 2023 is ‘Zero Male Suicide’.

Although men are now almost three times more likely to see a therapist if they’re worried, compared to 2009…

Two in five men admit to regularly feeling worried or low, an increase since 2009…

And the number of men experiencing suicidal thoughts has doubled since 2009.

Understanding more about men’s mental health

In the sanctity of our homes, we have a unique opportunity to cultivate emotional resilience in the men we care about. By focusing on men’s health at home, you’re helping to contribute to a society where men feel empowered to address their stress and emotional wellbeing proactively.

What leads men to suppress their emotions?

Many men face societal pressures to maintain a facade of stoicism, which can hinder their ability to express emotions and seek help when needed. It is these societal pressures that often encourage men to suppress their emotions and can create internal conflicts that impact their wellbeing.

How can we help more men open up?

By redefining strength to encompass emotional openness, we can actively create an environment where men feel safe to express themselves. We can encourage conversations about feelings and experiences, emphasising that vulnerability is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Who can help?

We all have a part to play in creating a safe environment. As friends, partners, fathers and brothers, we can encourage a deeper sense of self-awareness, helping men build emotional intelligence and adaptive coping mechanisms.

Seven tips for talking to men about mental health

Prevention is always better than cure and taking these steps can lead to positive change:

1. Make space to have real conversations: Find time to truly talk to one another. Refrain from jumping in with solutions and avoid judgement. Engaging in heartfelt conversations that delve into feelings, experiences, and challenges can gradually break down the walls of stoicism.

2. Don’t take ‘fine’ as your final answer: We’ve all done it; we say we’re fine when we’re not. To really find out, ask twice and don’t take ‘fine’ as your final answer.

3. Delve a little bit deeper: We don’t always say exactly how we are feeling, so often you will need to read between the lines when speaking to men about their mental health.

4. Avoid toxic language: Be clear that ‘grow up’, ‘man up,’ ‘get a grip’ or ‘grow a pair’ are incredibly unhelpful phrases, can reinforce negative stereotypes and may be damaging for individuals. Avoid them at all costs.

5. Find the right space: Face-to-face, conversations can often feel intense and intimidating. The key is finding an environment that’s slightly more relaxed for conversations to happen. Going for a walk or car journey can also be helpful.

6. Be present and patient: All that your friend or family member wants to hear is that you’re there for them and your feelings towards them will not change if they open up. You don’t have to try and give advice, they just need to know they are being listened to. Just being present and patient can help to validate someone’s feelings and help men express emotions in a safe space where they can then explore other options and healthy coping strategies to regulate their emotions.

7. Remove the stigma all year-round: Remember, men’s health is important all year long – not just during the month of November. Having open conversations, sharing your own story and supporting others throughout the year is essential to try and remove the stigma associated with men’s mental health.


What is Movember? Men’s health is in crisis. Men are dying on average 4.5 years earlier than women, and for largely preventable reasons.

A growing number of men – around 10.8 million globally – are facing life with a prostate cancer diagnosis. Globally, testicular cancer is the most common cancer among young men. And across the world, one man dies by suicide every minute of every day, with males accounting for 69% of all suicides.

Movember is uniquely placed to address this crisis on a global scale. They fund groundbreaking projects all over the world, engaging men where they are to understand what works best and accelerate change.

Since 2003, Movember has funded more than 1,250 men’s health projects around the world, challenging the status quo, shaking up men’s health research and transforming the way health services reach and support men. Find out more: www. uk.movember.com

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Vita is an award-winning, CQC registered healthcare provider