International Mens Day


Each November, since 1999, countries around the globe unify to celebrate positive male role models, and highlight awareness to issues that men may face on a daily basis. International Men’s Day is something that has been highly misunderstood through the years, often deemed to be a day founded in competition with International Women’s Day.

It’s vital to note that the importance of International Men’s Day is to bring to light the male struggle with mental health. As well as promoting positive expressions of masculinity, improving gender relations, and celebrating male role models and their contributions to our community. It’s also a day to recognise those who don’t fall under the typical masculine stereotype, such as members of the LGBTQ+ community.


The Male Struggle with Mental Health

Let’s talk about mental health. Across the board, research shows that men are much less likely to seek support and advice for their mental health than women. Even though there are a plethora of support options available, men, both young and old, just don’t seem to want to talk.


Here are some vital recent stats:

  • 75% of all suicide cases are men
  • Men aged 45 to 49 have the highest suicide rate of all age groups
  • One in eight men are currently suffering with a common mental health issue, such as, anxiety or depression
  • Men are almost three times as likely to become dependent on alcohol as woman, and are three times as likely to report frequent drug use
  • Only 36% of referrals to NHS talking therapies are for men, making men less likely to access psychological therapies than women


What Prevents Men Seeking Mental Health Support?

There are a number of factors that result in men not seeking out the mental health support they need. The most prevalent components are the expectations, stereotypes and gender roles that weigh on the shoulders of the male population, causing reluctance to open up about any worrying feelings and thoughts.

Through the years, men have been portrayed as the ‘stronger’ gender in society. Men are pushed through societal norms to be dominant and in control, to be breadwinners, to play sports and divulge in fitness, to partake in outdoor activities such as fishing, hiking and camping, and to adopt a presence of ‘lad banter’ and ‘boys will be boys’.

Unfortunately, these expectations to be ‘strong’ and ‘masculine’ have created a sense of ‘weakness’ for those who do not participate. Those who wish to open up about their mental health experiences are afraid of being ridiculed. This collection of negative masculine expressions has created the downfall of male mental health.

As a result of this, men are three times more likely to turn to harmful coping methods such as drugs and alcohol, rather than reaching out for help. Men are less likely than women to talk to those close to them about their thoughts and feelings, and quite often they struggle to recognise their own signs and symptoms of poor mental health. International Men’s Day strives to break this cycle.


International Men's day

How Can We Break the Stigma?

In line with International Men’s Day, it’s vital we find the root cause, and work towards improvements. Breaking a chain of deep rooted social norms isn’t going to happen overnight. However, there are things you can do which can help to shake negative expressions of masculinity when it comes to speaking about mental health.

So, how can you support the men in your life with their mental health struggles?


Learn to Spot the Signs

Mental health comes in all shapes and sizes, and is not a ‘one-size fits all’ package. While some can become withdrawn and appear sad, others can display their negative thoughts and feelings as outbursts of anger and actions of aggression.

Some overlooked signs of depression or poor mental health in men are:


  • Aggression

Anger as a sign of poor mental health is more commonly seen in men compared to women. Some signs of poor mental health manifesting as anger are: irritability or a short temper, sensitivity to criticism, violence towards oneself or others. In some cases, men can become abusive or controlling with their partner or those close to them.


  • Physical pain

Depression or other mental health issues can often display themselves physically. Some physical signs of poor mental health are: muscular or joint aches and pains, persistent headaches, sexual dysfunction, periods of digestive distress such as IBS, and sleep problems such as trouble sleeping or oversleeping.


  • Reckless behavior

Men are three times more likely to exhibit reckless behaviour when struggling with poor mental health. Examples of risky behavior that could be displayed are: an increase in/or frequent alcohol consumption, the use of drugs, frequent gambling, or reckless driving or extreme/dangerous sports.


Be Open to Communication

Men and women tend to communicate in different ways. A high percentage of men prefer to keep to themselves, whereas women feel more comfortable asking for advice. 

It’s important to keep yourself open to communication and connection, without being pushy or asking outright about touchy subjects. Let them know you’re there for them if they need to talk, rather than pushing for answers.

If you’re sensing signs or symptoms of poor mental health in a male friend, colleague or family member, and you feel comfortable doing so, you could try opening up about your own worries. This could relate to them, and offer a prompt for them to reciprocate.

Remember to check in with those around you regularly, and show you care about their wellbeing.



Sometimes people don’t want the opinions of others, they’re just looking for someone who’ll listen.

If someone is opening up to you about their worries, it’s vital that you listen to everything they have to say, without interruption. It’s difficult to understand exactly what is going on in someone else’s mind, so it’s important to approach the topic with care. 

Only offer advice if it’s clearly asked for, and try to stay away from talking about your own problems unless you can offer useful information from your own personal experiences.


Share Useful Mental Health Resources

If you feel that someone could benefit from the use of mental health resources, you can opt to share some charities, organisations and mental health groups.

When sharing this information, approach the subject with care. Instead of telling them they need therapy, which could result in a defensive reaction, ask if they have heard of talking therapies and suggest that it could be a good option for them.

If they are interested, you can share the names and contact details of multiple resources, giving them the freedom to research and choose the most suitable route for them.


Men’s Mental Health, Personal Development and Advice

We’ve listed some extremely important phone lines below for those struggling, or those who know someone who may be. Share these numbers with your colleagues and loved ones to remind them that if they’re feeling down, or are worried about an issue, there is always somewhere to turn for help:


Boys and Young Mens’ Personal Development


Domestic Abuse/Violence




Health (including mental health)






Sexual Abuse/Exploitation/Violence







Suicide Prevention Awareness


It’s Suicide Prevention Day, let’s state some facts. Each year, 703,000 people take their own life worldwide. For each person that takes their own life, there are 20 or so others who also make an attempt to end theirs. In 2019, suicide was the fourth leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds – this is a terrifying number for an illness that is highly preventable with counselling and therapy options.


Suicide is devastating to families and friends who are left behind. Often these individuals are left wondering what they could have done if they’d noticed the signs, putting a large portion of the blame onto their own shoulders. It’s crucial that we continue to speak up and talk about mental health. By doing so, we can create a world where everyone feels comfortable to talk to someone when they’re feeling down.


Suicide Prevention Q&A with Johnsons 1871

In light of #SuicidePreventionDay, we spoke with some of our team who recently attended extensive mental health training. We asked them to share some advice and knowledge from the course. Along with some insight from personal experience of approaching the subject of negative thoughts, both in and outside of the workplace.


Suicide Prevention Awareness


Mental Health Q&A with Pete Harris, HR Manager at Johnsons 1871

How can we lift the taboo of speaking about mental health?


“By leading the conversation and making it normal to talk about your emotions. 


It is only when talking about our mental health becomes an everyday thing that people will feel empowered to talk about how they feel, and more importantly – we will be able to help. I also believe that the word ‘taboo’ doesn’t aid the situation. Describing mental health as a taboo subject adds barriers which we are trying to avoid. The best way I describe it is that mental health belongs to us all. When our mental health becomes unbalanced, talking to others about your thoughts and feelings can help.”



What free resources are available for people who may be struggling with negative thoughts and feelings?


“There are a number of free support groups out there for those struggling with their mental health, such as, Samaritans, Papyrus (young people), and NSPA (National Suicide Prevention Alliance), amongst others. There are also specific support groups for those dealing with suicidal thoughts. 


Drug and alcohol dependency, gambling, financial problems, divorce, etc all have support groups that provide mental health support within their framework. Finally, the NHS has some fantastic mental health referral systems that work through GP services. Although quite often the waiting lists are long, people who have more severe assessment scores are fast tracked to get the help they need. 


In our workplace, Johnsons 1871, we have a number of mental health first aiders that can provide internal support. However, while we are trained to notice the signs and symptoms of those struggling, we can only signpost and advise on further support. We are not trained psychologists or mental health support therapists.”    



What wellness support does Johnsons 1871 offer to staff?


“As mentioned above, Johnsons now have qualified mental health first aiders, who are trained to listen, provide support and signpost our employees to relevant support. We also offer our employees support through our NHS top-up scheme, which becomes available after 3 months of service. 


This allows each team member access to the employee assistance programme, provided independently from the company. This scheme offers a number of advisors and counsellors trained to deal with the hardships people face. There are services for relationship, drug and alcohol, financial and mental health issues, amongst others. 


Our mental health support can offer 5 discounted counselling sessions, which provide an excellent service for those who feel as though they have no one else to turn to.”      


Suicide Prevention Awareness


Mental Health Q&A with Stuart Williams, QHSE Director at Johnsons 1871

How should you approach the subject of mental health in the workplace, if you think someone might be struggling?


“ Firstly, I would approach the individual and reassure them that they can speak to me in confidence. I would explain that I will treat whatever they say with respect and will respect their confidentiality. A breach of their trust could have a further negative impact on their mental health. 


I would begin by asking about their general well-being and let them know my door is always open to talk, whenever they need to. I would focus my discussion on the individual, and not impose any personal beliefs on them. Being a listening ear, without judgement, encourages those struggling to open up and talk about how they’re feeling. Even if they don’t feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings at the time, I would let them know that I care, and that I’ll always be here when the time is right for them.”



What should you do if someone confides in you regarding their mental health?


“The most important thing to remember when someone is confiding with you about their feelings, is to listen. 


Just simply listening to someone is vital to those struggling with mental health issues. More often than not, a person battling negative thoughts will have kept their feelings bottled up for a long time. If they decide to open up, sit down privately, or go for a walk with them so they can speak to you in confidence. Always set aside an extended period of time, to make sure they don’t feel rushed.


I would assure them that even if I don’t understand how they’re feeling, I’ll be here to support them, without judgement. If it feels right, I may choose to offer my own experience. However, it’s important you assess the situation, and only share relevant experiences. It’s crucial that when sharing your own experiences, you don’t take away from how that person is feeling and what they are currently going through.”


Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Resources

We’ve listed some extremely important phone lines below for those struggling, or those who know someone who may be. Share these numbers with your colleagues and loved ones to remind them that if they’re feeling down, there is always somewhere to turn for help:


Suicide Prevention Textlines:

If you do not want to talk to someone over the phone, these text lines are open 24 hours a day, every day.




Youth Mental Health Awareness


There is one age group that is often overlooked when it comes to mental health awareness. As we age and tackle the stresses that adulthood brings, we tend to habitually think of our younger years fondly. We forget that being a child comes with it’s own stresses, and in doing so we set aside youth mental health struggles and disorders.


Each year on the 7th September, charities and organisations work together to bring awareness to a very important cause that is typically neglected: #YouthMentalHealthDay. Even in a modern world, mental health is seen by many as a taboo subject. Many sufferers feel uncomfortable opening up about their issues, for fear of judgement and appearing weak.


What Are the Youth and Mental Health Statistics?

According to the World Health Organisation, studies of youth mental health suggest that one in six people struggling mentally are aged 10-19 years.


Today, an estimate of almost 1 billion people are battling a mental disorder, or are facing daily negative thoughts and feelings. When looking at the stats, it becomes clear just how important it is to talk about mental health among youth.


Globally, depression is one of the leading causes of illness and disability among our young people. Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death in 15-19 year olds. Of global disease and injury in those aged 10-19 years, 16% are attributed to mental health ailments and disorders – and the number is rising.


Half of all mental health conditions worldwide begin at age 14, when most young people experience puberty. However, the majority of these conditions go undetected, resulting in failure to receive treatment when needed. In low-income countries, more than 75% of people battling a mental health disorder do not receive treatment. As a result of this, every 40 seconds a person dies by suicide.


Many of these mental health facts were documented pre-covid. It’s vital to note that youth mental health issues have been steadily increasing in the last 18 months, due to strict isolation and online schedules, and the stresses of returning to school after an extended period of time.


The two most common mental health issues in youth which have increased notably during and following the lockdown period are: depression in young people, and stress in young people.


Causes of Mental Health Issues in Youth

At some point in time, all of us will experience trauma. Certain traumas that happen early on in a person’s life can have serious implications mentally. These hardships can increase the likelihood of developing mental conditions if support, such as counselling and therapy, is not sought.


Some risk factors which may increase the likelihood of a young person developing mental health problems include:

These factors include:


  • The death of a loved one
  • Guardians divorce or separation
  • Experience bullying or discrimination
  • Facing long-lasting difficulties at school
  • Poverty or homelessness
  • Experiencing a long-term physical illness
  • Caring for a vulnerable relative
  • A parent or guardian who struggles with substance abuse or has been in trouble with the law
  • A parent or guardian that struggles with a mental health condition

Not all young people who experience these troubles will go on to struggle mentally. However, children and young people who are more prone to these conditions may experience a decline in mental health, following a traumatic time in their life.


Social Media and Mental Health in Youth

Another common and recent factor which has been noted to increase mental health issues in children and young adults, is the frequent use of social media platforms. There is a proven correlation between social media and mental health in young people, mainly due to the pressures of attaining an unrealistic body type or standard, or keeping up with unattainable popularity and social pressures.

Children and young adults are persistently exposed to false body types that have been altered using apps such as Facetune and Peachy, which can completely alter a person’s face and body in both photo and video content.


Mental Health and the LGBT+ Community

Studies have shown that the group most commonly affected with mental health issues are the LGBT+ community.


Mental health issues in LGBT youth aren’t directly caused by being part of the LGBT community, however, the people within this community are often subject to hardships such as discrimination, homophobia or transphobia, social isolation, rejection and difficulty in coming out to friends and family.


Mental health in LGBT youth is particularly apparent in transgender young people, with almost half of trans people having thoughts about taking their life at some point in time. Transgender youth mental health can be a sensitive and tricky subject to approach, and must be handled with care and discretion. Talking about mental health with youth is vital to break the stigma and allow young people to become more comfortable with talking about their thoughts and feelings.


Youth Mental Health Awareness


Mental Health Q&A With Kellie Johnson

This is our wonderful Kellie! Kellie is the National Scheduling Coordinator, for Johnsons 1871. She recently attended a course of extensive mental health seminars as part of Johnsons 1871 employee training.


To shine some light on #YouthMentalHealthDay, we asked Kellie some vital questions about the signs and symptoms to look out for, how to approach a situation where someone may be struggling mentally, and how to prevent mental health issues in youth from progressing:


What are the signs to look out for in young people?


“Any significant changes in a young person’s behaviour or persona could be a sign that they are struggling with their mental health. The common signs of poor mental health we could look out for in young people include a change in personality, such as becoming withdrawn, angrier or more irritable than usual, a sense of hopelessness, consistently seeming down or increased anxiety. You may also notice that they have stopped taking care of themselves properly, e.g. unwashed hair/clothes, or perhaps they may have developed compulsive behaviours, such as switching light switches on and off, or nail biting.”


How can you approach the subject, if you think a young person may be struggling?


“The best way to approach a young person who appears to be struggling with their mental health would be to identify signs of distress, and approach them in confidence. Sensitively disclose that you have noticed a change in their behaviour, and invite them to talk about it with you. It’s important not to pry or force someone to talk about their mental health if they’re not ready or decline your invitation.


A more caring and open approach should be taken. You should respond in a comforting and optimistic manner, without insisting that everything will be OK. Sometimes young people just want to get things off their chest without receiving advice or opinions on their problems. Occasionally it can be helpful to share your own experiences to help them open up, however, it’s important not to take the focus away from their situation, so ensure you assess the situation beforehand.


The next step would be signposting the young person to any groups, helplines, apps or professional support that could benefit them. There are a wide variety of youth mental health charities, some aimed at a broad spectrum of issues, and some catering to specific conditions.”


What should you do if someone approaches you regarding their mental health?


“If you don’t have any mental health qualifications or experience, it’s best to just listen. Invite them to talk about what’s bothering them without judgement. Do your best to make them feel comfortable and ask them if there is anything you can do to help. Check in with them regularly by asking how they are and assuring them that you will make time for them if they need to talk further.”


What free resources are available for young people?


“There are a number of mental health facilities for youth, including helplines that young people can call. Such as, Samaritans, Mind, YoungMinds, Mental Health Foundation, Relate and SANE, to name a few. However, in this day and age young people may prefer to use an app, such as Student Health App, Calm Harm, Be Mindful, Hub of Hope or DistrACT. There are a wide variety of apps for young people to choose from, for their own specific needs.


I would also encourage young people to approach anyone they feel comfortable talking to about their issues. It’s always better to get things off your chest instead of bottling up negative feelings and thoughts. Keeping things in can have a knock on effect when someone is feeling low or losing control, worsening the situation.


Some valuable,  free resources young people can use are local GP services, or calling the NHS non-emergency line ‘111’ who can refer them for counselling and local support services.”


Youth Mental Health Facilities and Support Lines

There are some amazing options available when it comes to free mental health support for young people. Some great support lines are:


  • Samaritans: Call 116 123 (free from any phone)
  • SANEline: Call 0300 304 7000 (4.30pm–10.30pm every day)
  • Calm: Call 0800 58 58 58 (5pm–midnight every day)
  • The Mix UK: Under 25s, call 0808 808 4994 (Sunday-Friday 2pm–11pm)
  • Papyrus HOPELINEUK: Under 35s call 0800 068 4141 (weekdays 10am-10pm, weekends 2pm-10pm and bank holidays 2pm–10pm), email or text 07786 209 697
  • Nightline Association: If you’re a student, you can look on the Nightline website to see if your university or college offers a night-time listening service. Nightline phone operators are all students too.
  • Switchboard LGBT+: If you identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, you can call 0300 330 0630 (10am–10pm every day). Phone operators all identify as LGBT+
  • C.A.L.L: If you live in Wales, you can call 0800 132 737 (open 24/7) or you can text ‘help’ followed by a question to 81066.


For a full list of free mental health support services for young people, visit the Mind website here


Many of these helplines can offer extended support for those struggling long-term. Such as, group and one-to-one counselling/therapy sessions; health and wellness programs for youth; courses on youth mindfulness; and information on a child and youth mental health walk in clinic local to the young person.


Mental Health Apps for Youth UK

The NHS has a fantastic list of apps for young people, for a variety of different mental health issues and symptoms. Share this list with your young loved ones who may be struggling, or give them a try yourself, here