Men’s Health Forum launches new Beat Stress service

Success sign

This week is Men’s Health Week and organiser the Men’s Health Forum (MHF) is launching a new Beat Stress service to help men beat stress - before it beats them.

UK health charity the MHF suggest getting stress off your chest by talking about problems or worries with friends and family members, but for those who would rather speak to someone anonymously, the MHF has launched a new Beat Stress service, accessible by smartphone, computer or tablet.

The service aims to provide men with a free, anonymous and confidential text or email chat with trained health and wellbeing professionals who will be happy to listen to problems and concerns and offer appropriate information, support and signposting to other services.

The MHF says the service has been set up in response to what it describes as a “clear crisis” in middle-aged men’s mental health after government surveys revealed that men aged between 45-59 have the highest stress levels and the lowest levels of life satisfaction. Alarmingly, the suicide rate among the same age group reached 23.9 deaths per 100,000 in 2014 - the second highest rate ever.

Typing on Laptop

“Anonymous, confidential and accessible”

Martin Tod, CEO of the Men’s Health Forum says of the new Beat Stress service: “Middle-age is a particularly stressful time for men and men are often not very good at getting help. We’ve made this service anonymous, confidential and accessible via mobile so that it is easier for men to ask for help sooner”

Nipping stress in the bud

Prolonged periods of stress can seriously affect both physical and mental health, impacting on personal wellbeing. It can affect your work and home life and, if allowed to go unchecked, stress can begin to erode your relationships with others – friends and colleagues but particularly close family and partners. It is hoped that the new service will help men nip stress in the bud before it gets out of control by finding out how to combat stress, identifying its root causes and actively addressing these. For more information on some of the key issues men face, visit Men's Health Forum.

Man sitting at desk

Stressed at work?

MHF cites a recent Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report, which indicates 191,000 men suffer stress, depression or anxiety caused or worsened by work. It says that these problems, if not acknowledged and addressed early on, can lead to more serious mental health problems, work issues and sometimes problems with alcohol and drugs – known as self-medicating.

A recent Men's Health Forum survey found:

A third (34%) of men surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that they were “constantly feeling stressed or under pressure”

9% described themselves as severely or extremely stressed.

In addition, the survey reveals that men feel embarrassed by mental health problems:

34% said they would be ‘embarrassed’ or ‘ashamed’ to take time off work for anxiety or depression compared to 13% for a physical injury

Given a list of 15 symptoms and asked whether they would time off work to address them, men ranked anxiety and low mood (depression) at the bottom.

“Helping men to help themselves”

Dr Neil Coulson, Associate Professor of Health Psychology at the University of Nottingham says: “We know from our research that men may feel more empowered to seek help when it is anonymous, convenient and confidential. This service is a great step forward in helping men to help themselves and with the right support we know that men can and do self-manage stress effectively.”

For information and tips on looking after the men in all our lives, view our Live Healthy article on Men's Health.

You can also find out more about Men and Depression.

General & Medical members have unlimited telephone access to specialist teams of experienced, qualified and trained counsellors who are available to provide support and assistance on a wide range of issues. You can find out more in our Personal Healthcare brochure.

This content is subject to our Disclaimer.

About the author

Georgie Fenn, writes most of our news articles and social media posts.