Men's Health Forum: New service launching to help middle aged men to beat stress (before it beats them)
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New service launching to help middle aged men to beat stress (before it beats them)

On Wednesday the 15th of June, the UK health charity Men’s Health Forum is formally launching beatstress.uk, an anonymous online chat and email service available to men from anywhere at all by computer, phone or tablet. The service enables men to talk about things that are causing them stress in an anonymous and confidential way with health and wellbeing professionals who are able to offer support and signpost to services.

The service has been set up by the Men’s Health Forum with a grant from  the Bupa UK Foundation in response to the clear crisis in middle aged men’s mental health. According to Government surveys, middle-aged men (45-59) have the lowest life satisfaction and the highest stress levels. In a recent Men's Health Forum survey conducted by Opinion Leader:

  • 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
A recent HSE report indicated 191,000 men a year suffer stress, depression or anxiety caused or made worse by work and if not acknowledged early and managed properly, stress can lead to
  • more serious mental health problems
  • issues at work
  • self-medication with alcohol and drugs
Perhaps most strikingly, the suicide rate is highest amongst middle aged men (45-59). In 2014, it was the second highest level ever - 23.9 deaths per 100,000 population.
Traditional services are not reaching men. During the first 3 quarters of 2015, men were only 36% of those accessing psychological therapies. In a 2016 survey of 1,112 employed men conducted by Opinion Leader for the Men’s Health Forum:
  • 34% would be embarrassed or ashamed to take time off work for a mental health concern such as 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 rated anxiety and low mood (depression) at the bottom
The service is being launched to coincide with Men’s Health Week 2016 which is all about beating stress.
Martin Tod, CEO of the Men’s Health Forum states
“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”

Dr Neil Coulson, Associate Professor of Health Psychology at the University of Nottingham states
“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.”

Dr Paula Franklin, Chair of the Bupa UK Foundation adds:
“We’re pleased to support the Men’s Health Forum with its Beat Stress programme.  Mental wellbeing is a really important issue and many people, particularly men, don't recognise that they need help and so delay seeking treatment. 
We hope the Beat Stress programme will be a positive step in helping men across the UK talk about stressful issues in a safe forum.”       

For more information about the Bupa UK Foundation and its programmes visit http://www.bupaukfoundation.org/
Notes to editors
The Men’s Health Forum will be launching beatstress.uk on the Wednesday Men’s Health Week (June 13th to the 19th). The focus of this year’s campaign is stress. We all get stressed. The question is: what should we do about it? Men’s Health Week is a fantastic opportunity to bring men and organisations together to get talking about the issue and raise awareness of a vitally important problem and how it can be tackled.
Funded with a grant from the Bupa UK Foundation, beatstress.uk offers a range of support materials and services.

The Men’s Health Forum is a UK registered charity established in 2001 whose core ambition is to ensure that all men and boys - particularly those in the most disadvantaged areas and communities - will have the information, services and treatments they need to live healthier, longer and more fulfilling lives.  Find out more at www.menshealthforum.org.uk/about-us

For more information, requests for interview and case studies and interviews with health professionals, please contact Chris Stein, the Senior Project Officer of the Men’s Health Forum:T 020 7922 7925 M 07743 929 968 E: media@menshealthforum.org.uk

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