Fear of causing offence or saying the wrong thing is preventing Britons from checking in on men who they suspect may be struggling with their mental health, new research shows.

A survey commissioned by men’s mental health charity Movember has revealed that just over half (53%) of the 2,000 Britons polled, lacked the confidence to speak to a male work colleague, friend, or family member they were worried about.

Across the UK, 3 out of 4 suicides are from men, a statistic which has remained relatively consistent since the mid-90s.

When asked why they wouldn’t feel confident approaching the men in their lives about their mental health, one in three (34%) said they feared causing offence, followed by 31 per cent who feared saying the wrong thing. Just over one in four also said they worry about intruding (29%) or causing embarrassment (28%).

“We know that strong social connections are an important protective factor against suicide”, says Brendan Maher, Global Director of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention.

“People know it’s important to have meaningful conversations to support others; however, confidence and knowledge around how to do this with men is low. These conversations can often feel uncomfortable or awkward but checking in on your mates and loved ones can make the world of difference. Don’t assume they don’t want to be bothered or don’t want to talk. Just making the call can go a long way.”

To help build the confidence of those wanting to support the men in their lives who might be struggling, Movember has created Movember Conversations.

The free interactive digital tool presents a number of scenarios relevant to today’s world including job loss, social isolation, and family pressures. It uses simulated conversations to explore and practise how anyone might navigate a difficult conversation with someone they care about.

As the leading charity changing the face of men’s health on a global scale, Movember continues to prioritise and invest in mental health and suicide prevention.

Most recently, the Veterans and First Responders Mental Health Program saw £4.47 million of funding put towards identifying and evaluating fourteen promising programs around the globe aimed at improving the mental health and wellbeing and prevent suicide in veterans and first responders, including three projects in the UK.

For more information on Movember Conversations, and to get help, visit movember.com/suicideprevention

Photo by Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash