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International Men's Day: 40% of RSCPP therapists see an increase in men seeking therapy

by Sarah Graham
Wednesday 19 November 2014
191 3774

Happy International Men's Day! To mark the occasion, we're pleased to reveal that almost 40% of RSCPP therapists have seen an increase in the number of men seeking therapy in the last twelve months.

Last week, ahead of International Men's Day, we published an article exploring the issues and stigma around men's mental health. The response to that piece on Twitter was brilliant so, as a follow up, we sent a survey on men's mental health to 460 of our 2638 therapists.

Of the 139 RSCPP therapists who responded, 38.85% said their number of male clients had increased in the last year, with 56.12% saying the numbers had stayed about the same, and only 5% recording a drop in male clients.

Registered Psychotherapist Brian Green said: "There is a definite trend that I expect to continue as therapy generally becomes more acceptable to men."

38.85% of therapists have seen in increase in male clients.

However, despite the increase in male clients, women remain more likely to be in therapy than men, with RSCPP therapists seeing around a third more female clients than male in the last month.

Registered Counsellor Benjamin Selby said this gender difference is understandable: "I think women have less 'face' to lose by seeking therapy. They recognise the value of talking at an emotional level with someone who will hear them, without judgement."

He added: "Men, on the other hand, I believe still feel that it is weak to discuss that they have emotions, never mind that they've been hurt. Those men seeking therapy are possibly more in touch with their feelings."


Most common ages for men to seek therapy

Of the male clients seen by RSCPP therapists, the majority fell within the 31-45 age range, with 44% of male clients in this age group, followed by 45-60 year olds (making up around 30% of the sample) and 18-30 year olds (20%).

44% of male clients were aged 31-45.

Only 5% of male clients were aged 60+, and the remainder were under 18.

According to the Samaritans, the highest rate for male suicides is also amongst the 40-44 year old age group, so it is promising that more men of this age group appear to be seeking therapeutic help.

Young men, between 25 and 34, were previously the highest age group for UK suicides, but this has dropped in recent years following a national campaign.

Benjamin believes 31-45 is the "perfect age" for most men to seek therapy. "They have lost the bravado of youth, and aren't as stuck in their ways as some of the older generation. I think this age will go up as some of the younger males grow older," he said.


Most common issues for men to seek therapy for

Male clients came to therapy presenting with a number of issues – most commonly:
• Relationship problems (21%)
• Stress (16%)
• Depression (14%)
• Anxiety (10%)
• Anger problems (7%)
• Abuse (6%)
• Other issues (6%)
• Sexual problems (5%)
• Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (4%)
• Alcohol dependence (4%)

Nationally, depression and anxiety are the most common mental health conditions, with 8-12% of the UK population affecting by depression and 9% affected by mixed depression and anxiety.

RSCPP Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Richard Snowdon said: "The results of our survey are a really positive sign that more men are coming forward to seek help. They are debunking the generalisation we normally hear that men keep their problems to themselves."

He added: "The average age of male clients, and the fact that so many are presenting with relationship problems, suggests many middle aged men are seeking therapy around the time of separation or divorce from a partner."

Of the clients seen by RSCPP's therapists, more than half (53%) instigated therapy of their own accord, while 43% said therapy was instigated by their partner, employer, GP or some other influencer. Despite these influencers, almost 94% of male clients attended therapy alone, with just 6% accompanied by a partner, relative or friend.

Finding support

If you are concerned about the issues raised in this article then you may like to read about finding the right therapist for you. If this route is not appropriate for you, your GP can assess you and direct you towards support.

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Updated 19 November 2014