While there has been a positive step change in the way mental health is viewed and talked about in England, with 3.4 million people having improved attitudes, our research shows a persistent gap between the attitudes of men and women, with men consistently showing less favourable attitudes.  

We carried out research into men’s and young people's attitudes towards mental health over the course of a year, which included feedback from 18 focus groups across the country. 

This new insight revealed a number of barriers preventing men in particular from opening up to the topic of mental health. Compared to women, men are:

  • Less knowledgeable about mental health, with more negative attitudes
  • Far less likely to report their own experiences of mental health problems and less likely to discuss mental health problems with a professional
  • More likely to say that mental health problems are the result of a ‘lack of self-discipline and willpower’
  • Three times more likely to take their own lives than women with suicide being the leading cause of death in men under 45.

And in the case of young people, our research found that whilst awareness of mental health issues is improving, understanding is still poor in the 11-18 age group.

Be in your mate's corner

To address this we’ve launched our major new ‘In Your Corner’ campaign that will run for the next five years. We kicked it off in February/March 2017 with a new film aimed at men and a series of short videos aimed at young people.

Our men’s film features three heroic ‘corner men’; regular guys who are in a mate’s corner when he really needs them. Our young people’s series focuses on different steps that can be taken to be there for a friend struggling with their mental health.

The films are being promoted online backed up with poster advertising in pubs, gyms and secondary schools. You can follow the campaign on social media using the hashtag #inyourcorner

For journalists covering the campaign, we have a range of useful materials: