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October 2016 – Blog on The Taboos About Men’s Mental Health

Because You Matter To Us…

Thomson & Bancks’ Head of Medical Negligence, Lucy Sherry will be sharing insight into health and medical awareness, new industry findings and research in a brand new section of our website, the ‘Because You Matter To Us’ Blog.

Our first commentary will be on The Taboos About Men’s Mental Health.

Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45, yet a UGOV poll showed that only 20% of the public realises this. The sad fact is that every 2 hours, a man in the United Kingdom takes his life.

We have all seen the “#22 Kill Challenge” which went around Facebook recently – where we were asked to do 22 push ups for 22 days to raise awareness of the fast that 22 veterans (predominately male) take their life every day.

In 2014, there were 4,623 male suicides in the UK, which was 3 times higher than the figure for females. A Samaritans survey found one third of responders would not talk to anyone if they felt suicidal. 41% of men contemplating suicide have never spoken to anyone about their feelings. The greatest risk bracket according to the Samaritans is males between 40 – 44 years of age of low socio-economic status.


Most cultures have traditionally seen men in positions of power and as heads of families and so they judge those seeking help to be weak or non-masculine.

Women tend to express their emotions more and use 3 times the amount of words per day than a man. They also have a more positive view of therapy and so release their tensions. Men, on the other hand, often experience a “big build” until they reach breaking point.

Men, more than women, typically respond to stress by taking risks or misuse drugs. Further, they tend to use more violent and effective forms of suicide as they try to ‘regain control’ in this final desperate act and so are not ‘saved’.

How everyday actions can help:

  1. “time to talk” and similar campaigns have promoted talking about feelings because it is important to get men to try and talk about their emotions without feeling any stigma.
  2. Do not foster gender stereotypes at home so the next generation do not feel this unrealistic pressure to be all powerful and masculine and see emotion as a weakness.
  3. Call single friends for a chat and socialise with them.
  4. Try to encourage those with depression to eat well, exercise and have less alcohol-dependency which has a downward spiral on negative thoughts and long-term depression. Encourage them to join groups.
  5. Listen without judgement and do not be quick to offer solutions! This will help them to feel unburdened of overwhelming negative thoughts so they are not dealing with these problems “alone”.
  6. If high risk: immediately involve the NHS/GP, care team, or the Samaritans (24hour line – 08457 90 90 90).

World Mental Health Day is the annual global celebration of mental health education, awareness and advocacy. Every year, on the 10th October, the world comes together in shining the spotlight on a particular aspect of mental ill health.

Lucy Sherry, Solicitor-Advocate; Head of Medical Negligence specialises in medical negligence litigation, previously representing the NHS Litigation Authority and one of the GP Unions. Lucy now works with injured individuals and bereaved families to achieve compensation for adverse outcomes. Lucy has a passion for learning and sharing her knowledge, attending many hours of medical lectures each year to keep abreast of changes in treatments and also gaining an insight into new health and medical findings to share with Thomson & Bancks’ clients and visitors to this blog.

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