In 2019, we found that just a quarter of men would openly tell their male friends if they were struggling with their mental health. And 39% of them said that they found it hard to spot the signs when a friend wants to open up.
Many people want to talk about mental health - but it can be hard to find the right time or know how someone else will react. Fear of stigma and lack of understanding can mean people struggle with their feelings alone.
Show your mate it's ok to talk and that you want to listen:
- Ask Twice:
Sometimes we say we’re fine when we’re not. To really find out, ask twice. It shows you’re willing to be there and listen – now or when your friend is ready.
- Read between the lines:
While some men might come right out and say they are dealing with mental health issues, 31% are more likely to say they are stressed and 30% that they are not feeling themselves. 35% of men said if they wanted to talk to a friend about their mental health they would ask how their friend is doing and hope they’d ask them back
- If he’s inviting you to go for a drink one-on-one, he might want to have a proper chat:
63% of men said they would be most comfortable talking about their mental health over a drink. Keep an any eye out for the hint. Try just listening and creating some space for your friend to share what’s on their mind.
- Know when to end the banter:
We all like a bit of banter from time to time, but it’s also easy to spot when someone’s not in the mood or they want to be serious. If you notice something is different about your friend, or your jokes aren’t going down so well, ask how they are doing – and Ask Twice! Remember, ‘grow up’ and ‘man up’ are never helpful. 42% of men say phrases like that are conversation blockers.
- No need to make it awkward, just let them know they are supported:
39% of men say they’ve had a disappointing reaction when they’ve shared things about their mental health in the past. All your friend wants to hear is that you’re there for them and your feelings towards them will not change. You don’t have to try and give advice, just be the good friend you’ve always been.