In honour of Men’s Health Week this year from 11-17 June, we are going to look at how some mental health issues, which are traditionally thought to be women’s problems, can affect men too.
While the rate of self-harm is higher in women, it is four times more likely to lead to suicide in men. Although the triggers for men and women are similar, i.e. abuse in childhood, domestic violence, breakdown of a relationship, problems with alcohol and employment, self-harm is becoming a growing issue for men, particularly those aged 20 to 35.
Self-harm includes overdosing, swallowing chemicals like bleach, and cutting, gouging or scratching the skin and it is used by many as a way to cope with painful or emotional events.
Some attribute the rise in self-harm among men to a confusion about their role in society. Others believe the difficulty for young men to get jobs over a long period of time and the culture of men keeping their emotional problems to themselves, are to blame.
Whatever the reason, new guidelines have been issued to doctors and nurses, who often struggle to understand self-harm, to treat these patients with as much respect as others. Often health professionals are unsympathetic to self-harmers in a bid to discourage them from repeating their actions, but this often has the opposite effect, making them feel worse and more likely to self-harm again.
If you would like to talk to someone about self-harm or would like to book an initial session with one of our experienced practitioners, please contact your local First Psychology centre on:
Edinburgh: 0131-668-1440, www.edinburghtherapy.co.uk
Glasgow: 0141-404-5411, www.glasgowpsychology.co.uk