More Help Needed For Men Struggling with Mental Health Problems in Yorkshire
18 November 2016, 06:00
A Heart investigation has found significantly fewer men are using NHS talking therapies compared to women in Yorkshire, yet almost four times the number of men take their own lives.
We sent Freedom of Information requests to the NHS mental health trusts across the region. Between April 2015 and March 2016 just 36% of people who accessed talking therapies were male*. (*Bradford District Care Trust and Tees, Esk and Wear Valley Foundation Trust were unable to provide figures). Talking therapies include things like counselling and cognitive behavioural therapies.
According to figures from the Office for National Statistics, 292 women died by suicide in Yorkshire, compared to 1,143 men from 2012-2014. Barnsley had the highest rate of male suicides in the region in that period accounting for 19.7% of all registered deaths among men.
Tom Gray from Rotherham, has struggled with mental health problems and tried to take his own life twice. He now volunteers with the Samaritans. You can hear his story here:
Andrew Howarth is Head of Patient Participation at Leeds and York NHS Foundation Trust has told Heart it is a trend they are aware of and trying to tackle by visiting men’s groups. He said: “It’s very deeply ingrained in society that men grow up from being little boys being told big boys don’t cry. You’ve got to be macho man. Man up. That whole expression man up is the kind of message people get. It’s not cool to cry, it’s not cool to talk. I think it’s really important that we find key men who are able to stand up and say this is my story and if I’d done things differently things might not have been like they were.”
Hayley Carroll from Skipton has started a petition calling for better mental health services for men following the death of her brother Samuel. The 20 year-old took his own life earlier this year. Since his death Hayley has been writing to MPs and has start a petition.
You can hear more about Samuel's story here.
In January 2015 an All-Parliamentary Group on Suicide and Self-Harm Prevention found that many Local Authorities do not have Suicide Prevention Plans. The plans are drawn up by representatives from council’s, the NHS and charities in particular areas. They talk about local factors that may be contributing to suicide rates in an area and come up with ways to tackle the issues. The group is calling for Suicide Prevention Plans to be a statutory requirement.
Leeds North-West MP Greg Mulholland is one of the MP’s on that group. He told Heart: "Some local authorities are good. Others don’t have local strategies so they don’t have at their front of their mind, the need to be identifying people with mental health conditions, depression and the things that often lead people to take their own life”.
Mental health campaigner Luke Ambler is the founder of Andy's Man Club, where men can go to talk and be listened to without judgement. He started the clubs after the death of his brother-in-law Andy. He also started the '#It'sOkayToTalk' campaign which went viral around the world. Recently Luke and fellow campaigner walked from West Yorkshire to Parliament to meet with MPs. They also had the chance to meet Prince Harry.
Anyone struggling can find help and advice at the following places
The Samaritans - http://www.samaritans.org/
Andy’s Man Club - http://andysmanclub.co.uk/