Wednesday 11 August 2021

Men and Mental Health: Resources and Heroes

After attending a men’s health webinar at work, I realised I write very little on mental health for men. I blog about what I’ve learned supporting friends who live with mental illness and other health issues, but almost all those friends are women. I write about my feelings, moods, and self-care, but I’ve never explored men’s mental health as such.

In this article I’ve drawn together some key statistics on men’s mental health; crisis and support lines; organisations, books, podcasts; and awareness days. I’ve also selected a number of articles written by men which we’ve hosted here at Gum on My Shoe, and a few posts of my own where I’ve touched on my mental health. Finally, I’ve briefly profiled four men who inspire me: Michael Baker, Jonny Benjamin MBE, Quinn Brown, and Peter McDonnell. I’m grateful to Quinn and Peter for their contributions to this article.


Men’s Mental Health Statistics

I struggle to hold statistics in my head for long but here are some numbers from the Men’s Minds Matter website that emphasize how big a deal mental health is for men — and how that potentially affects everyone.

  • Men currently make up 76% of all suicides in the UK
  • 42% of men have considered suicide
  • Three-quarters of missing people are male
  • 90% of homeless people in London are men
  • Men are more likely to be victims of violence
  • 5% of men (compared to 7% of women) have reported being a victim of domestic violence
  • Men make up the vast majority of the prison population
  • Men experience more substance abuse and dependence
  • Men account for 79% of drug-related deaths
  • The outward expression of male distress causes significant problems for other men, women and children

For further information, check out this report by mental health charity MIND: Get It Off Your Chest: Men’s Mental Health 10 Years On (PDF).


Crisis and Support Lines

The following are not specifically for men but are listed by groups and organisations supporting men’s mental health, or have been personally recommended. For further links, check our resources page.


Groups and Organisations

The following groups and organisations are based in the UK. If you know of others, in the UK or worldwide, please let me know.

Andy’s Man Club

Andy’s Man Club runs “talking groups throughout the UK for men who have either been through a storm, are currently going through a storm or have a storm brewing in life.”

Boys Get Sad Too

Boys Get Sad Too is not just a clothing brand. It is a community of like-minded people who want to see a positive change in the world. We are official supporters of CALM (The Campaign Against Living Miserably) charity who we donate 10% of our profits to, and we actively work to try and raise awareness for the struggles that men face.”

CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably)

The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is leading a movement against suicide. Every week 125 people in the UK take their own lives. And 75% of all UK suicides are male. CALM exists to change this.” CALM operates a helpline and webchat.

Man Health

From the Man Health website: "Staying quiet about your struggles does not work. Our culture is definitely getting better at talking openly about mental health, but we still have a way to go. Many men still feel ashamed at confessing their own struggles and it’s this shame of the fear of judgement by others which we have to challenge”


Mantality’s mission is to go beyond stigma and inspire the everyday male to become the most comprehensive version of themselves; with their mental health the first point of address. We believe in being proactive around mental health, not reactive. We work towards progressing the conversation around mental health, developing the knowledge around it, so we can all live better lives.”


From the MANUP? website: “The adopted term of ‘MAN UP’ as we know it, needs to be challenged. Don’t just brush yourself down and get on with it. That's our focus, that’s our mission. We are well aware that mental health isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ so we just talk to those who have lived through it, with the aim of showing those who might be struggling that they/you are not the only one.”

Men’s Minds Matter

Men’s Minds Matter is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the prevention of male suicide by building psychological resilience and emotional strength. We are passionate about reducing suicide rates for men through the development and provision of psychological crisis interventions that prevent suicide.”

Talk Tonight – Selby C.I.C

Talk Tonight – Selby C.I.C (Community Interest Company) is a peer-to-peer support group for members of our community [Selby, North Yorkshire, and the surrounding areas] who are struggling with their mental health or for those that care for someone with a mental illness.”




Podcasts and Videos


Awareness Days and Events

Men’s Mental Health Day (#MensMHday)

Founded in 2014, Men’s Mental Health Day is an awareness day marked in Canada on the Tuesday before Father’s Day, during International Men’s Health Week. The event “aims to raise awareness of how signs and symptoms of mental health conditions may present themselves differently in men, and to normalize conversations about mental health issues to reduce the stigma that often prevents men from seeking help.”

International Men's Health Week

Men’s Health Week is celebrated each June as the week leading up to and including Father’s Day. Its purpose is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. The first Men’s Health Week was in 2002, following discussions at the first World Congress on Men’s Health in 2001 concerning the need to coordinate awareness periods around the globe. The next Men’s Health Week will be June 13-19, 2022.


Blog Posts

A selection of posts by men here at Gum on My Shoe, starting with three of mine where I’ve discussed aspects of my mental health.

Martin Baker

Michael Baker

Stewart Bint

Quinn Brown

Jay Chirino

Jules Clare

Kenneth J Cody

Chris Good

Peter McDonnell

John Medl

Andrew Turman


Four Men Who Inspire Me

These men inspire me immensely in various ways.

Michael Baker

In the interests of full disclosure, Mike is my son — and I could not be more proud of him! Mike is open about living with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS/ME) and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), and also deals with anxiety. As he has shared in guest posts with us (see here and here), these conditions have a major impact on his life, but Mike navigates the challenges they present with fortitude and good — if sometimes a little dark! — humour. In his own words:

It can be very difficult for those of us who suffer from chronic illnesses such as this to keep our spirits high. One thing I do is create a big list of things which make me happy, and do all I can to make those things happen, as often as I can. Being happy really improves your outlook, so I suggest we all give it a shot!

Mike is a novelist and a freelance writer in the games industry. He also creates fantasy maps for gamers and authors, and blogs on gaming and fantasy writing at The Thousand Scar’s Muse. You can find Mike’s cartography services on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter at @thethousandscar.

Jonny Benjamin MBE

I met Jonny Benjamin in August 2019 at an event on mental health and friendship. Many will know the story of how in 2008, recently diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, Jonny stood on London’s Waterloo Bridge prepared to take his life. His life was saved by a passing stranger who talked him down from the edge. As I described in my blog about the event:

Hearing Jonny talk about what happened on the bridge was intensely moving for me, as I’m sure it was for everyone in the room. He spoke of Neil holding space, of his being engaged and “invested.” Above all it was Neil’s positivity and lack of judgement that made the difference, as well as him telling Jonny there was no need to be embarrassed. This stranger’s acceptance, compassion, and simple humanity saved Jonny’s life.

I haven’t attempted to contact Jonny since the event, but I follow his social media with interest. In addition to The Stranger on the Bridge, Jonny co-authored The Book of Hope: 101 Voices on Overcoming Adversity which is “an inspiring and moving collection of 101 honest stories that illustrate human strength and resilience.” An anthology of his poetry was published in 2012 as Pill After Pill: Poems From A Schizophrenic Mind.

You can follow Jonny on his website.

Quinn Brown

Quinn has been something of a hero to me since we first connected on Twitter in 2019. We’ve yet to meet in person but surely that day cannot be too far away! In Quinn’s own words, “I am a proud gay, trans man who has been out as trans since 2018 and as gay since 2020.”

He is active online and locally, with an LGBTQ+ support group in Selby, Yorkshire called seLGBTQ+. For details, check out the group’s Facebook page. Quinn launched a campaign earlier this year under the hashtag #InWithTheBins to encourage businesses, organizations and shops to install sanitary bins in men’s toilet cubicles. As Quinn rightly says, “trans men do have periods and cis men may have underlying health conditions which mean they require a sanitary bin to dispose of waste.”

Quinn has been nominated in the category of Positive Role Model (LGBT) in the National Diversity Awards 2021 for his dedication and ongoing work. He’s also been nominated for a Selby District Shining Star award in the Shining Star Through the Pandemic category, which is “for an individual who has overcome the challenges of the pandemic and made a difference to your local community.” He’s a great guy and I’m proud to call him my friend.

You can follow Quinn on Facebook and Twitter.

Peter McDonnell

Peter is a mental health advocate and blogger who I first met on social media in 2017. He blogs on a range of topics based on his own lived experience of mental illness and his passions for travel and art. He has guested here at Gum on My Shoe on a number of occasions. In his own words, “I have found painting to be helpful and cathartic, therapeutic and a fun hobby. During my recent hospitalisation I did nine canvases in three weeks while on an acute mental health ward, seeing out a blip after having to come off meds due to physical side effects.”

Peter volunteers at the Basingstoke Community Furniture Project, and Parklands hospital where he was a patient, and is on the North and Mid Hampshire Mental Health Service User Advisory Board. Peter shared his experience of mental health wards in a recent article for the Basingstoke Gazette.

You can find Peter on his blog Pete’s Mental Health.


The majority of links I’ve provided are specific to the UK, as that’s where I live. If you’d like me to include other organisations, groups, or services related to men’s mental health, please let me know and I’ll update the article. Thank you!


Photo by Shane Rounce on Unsplash


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