Movember UK has conducted a YouGov poll that has released alarming figures. Approximately 12 percent of men over the age of 18 don’t have a close mate they would turn to in need. Why is this important? Because this is a major trigger in depression and suicide among men. It is one of the most basic human needs.
The new research shows that this friendlessness hits in their early twenties or by middle age. The study adds weight to warnings of a ‘crisis of masculinity’ amid evidence of rising male suicide rates.
Men often consider themselves or believe that they are expected to be independent enough to be a loner. They shouldn’t need to express their feelings, or have that shoulder to lean on that us women value so much. But that couldn’t be further from the truth, the World Health Organisation tells a lack of close friendships can cause depression, anxiety, and suicide due to bottling up issues that desperately need to be discussed.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics informs that in 2010, 16.4 percent of male deaths were caused by suicide, when only 4.8 percent of female deaths were caused by the same heartbreak. It is distressing that this massive gap is in part due to a lack of bromance that young men believe they don’t need.
“Many men we’ve spoken to don’t actually realise how shallow their relationships have become until they face a significant challenge, such as bereavement, breakdown of a relationship, fatherhood, or loss of employment – and yet that is of course when good friends are needed most,” Sarah Coghlan, head of Movember UK, explains to Vice.
Why does this happen? Throughout school and university, men are considerable socialites, but when career pressure starts to join the picture, faces that were once present everyday tend to start taking their own individual paths. Men begin to realise just how lonely they are in this world.
The Movember Foundations YouGov results mean that a staggering 2.5 million males in Britain face everyday life struggles alone. With 9 percent agreeing they don’t even remember the last time they spoke to their mates, and over a quarter revealing they only speak to their mates once a month.
When Movember went out and spoke individually to men across an array of ages, they discovered that there are many reasons they have grown apart from their bros. These include moving away, opting to work instead of continuing study alongside them, associating their friends as drinking buddies rather than confidants and relationships.
While marriage does offer lifelong emotional support and companionship, YouGov results show that married men have some of the lowest levels of support outside of home life.
Sarah Coghlan also stated, “Evidence does show that men do need relationships. I think you can get through large spans of life without noticing these things but there are critical times when they need more than just their mothers or father or wife to talk to if they are going to get through it. These are the periods where isolation really creeps in.”
The Movember Foundation has released that it will be dedicating some of its fundraising efforts to initiatives that will help build friendship and support networks among men.
Coghlan explains that it is the norm for women to strike up new friendships by simply asking to grab a drink or catch a movie after work, whereas for men it is unfortunately not socially acceptable in the same way.
“We have to find innovative means that are out there, how do we get men to reconnect with each other.”
“It is important to highlight to women as well as men that that investment is crucially important for mental health.”
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