A new survey by men’s grooming brand The Bluebeards Revenge has revealed that 48% of UK men feel more stressed today than at any point in the last five years. But the brand is doing its bit to turn barbershops into safe havens where men can talk openly about mental health.
The brand’s State of Man 2019 Report, which was launched to coincide with Men’s Health Week, also revealed that 61% of men now accept to having experienced depression and/or anxiety at some point in the last five years.
But there is hope: 75% of men are now aware of the services and support that exists for them; and 59% now feel comfortable enough to open up about their feelings.
According to the report’s findings, the most common reasons for men’s stress are work (63%), money (54%) and health (36%). Other noticeable causes include relationships (29%), physical appearance (22%) and even politics (22%).
When it comes to combatting stress, men seem to have two main alliances. The most popular relief is physical activity (61%), but guys also find great solace watching television and playing video games (52%). Worryingly, 33% of UK men are turning to alcohol as a release, while 25% comfort eat as a way of lowering stress.
The report also flags the 15-24 age range as the most at risk of stress, with more than 70% of those surveyed saying they are more stressed today than in 2014. The main stresses placed on young men in the UK are work (67%), money (59%) and relationships (55%). The survey also revealed that these young men are very reliant on television and video games, with 70% using them as a way of managing their stress levels.
It would also appear that Northern Irish men struggle most with stress in comparison to the rest of the UK: 57% of the Northern Irish men surveyed said they are more stressed now than they were five years ago, followed closely by 51% of Scottish men, 47% of English men and 42% of Welsh men.
While stress levels still pose a significant threat to men’s health, great progress is being made with regards to breaking down the barriers that prevent men from opening up about their worries.
Of the 1,386 men The Bluebeards Revenge surveyed, a staggering 75% were aware of the services and support that exists for them. 59% also agreed that they now feel comfortable enough to talk about their mental health and stress with friends and family.
On the report, Managing Director of The Bluebeards Revenge and former Royal Marine Commando David Hildrew said: “As an ex-serviceman, I take men’s mental health very seriously. Depression and stress are illnesses that many men (especially military) suffer with in silence, so it’s refreshing to see guys feeling more comfortable when it comes to opening up about their feelings.”
In an attempt to encourage more men to open up, The Bluebeards Revenge has been working with men’s mental health charity The Lions Barber Collective for the past three years. The charity is focussed on turning barbershops into safe havens for men, using the opportunity of a regular haircut to start conversations about their mental health in a non-clinical, non-judgemental environment.
“The Lions Barber Collective is the perfect way to break down the barriers that men tend to build for themselves,” says David. “It’s a privilege to be working alongside them; educating barbers around the world and encouraging even more men to open up.”
Ken Hermes – a leading barber and ambassador for The Lions Barber Collective – added: “Suicide is the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45, and stress can play a big part in this. For as long as a negative stigma is attached to the idea of men talking about their feelings, it will be very easy for stress to turn in to something much more sinister.
“That being said, it’s fantastic to see that UK men are taking a progressive attitude towards their mental health. The fact that 75% are now aware of the mental health services and support that exists for them is inspiring. We still have more work to do to get men to use all of these services, but the awareness is a huge step forwards. It also proves that anything we can do as a collective to encourage more men to share their woes has value beyond belief.”
One example of this value can be seen inside of the cartons of The Bluebeards Revenge products, particularly the brand’s hair gel. “In partnership with The Lions Barber Collective and suicide prevention charity Samaritans, the inner packaging of our hair gel shares men’s mental health facts and vital contact information for those that need it,” says David.
A spokesperson from suicide prevention charity Samaritans concluded, saying: “At Samaritans we understand the value of talking and the power of human connection. Just two people talking can really help that person to stop, breathe and start to see a way through their problems. Samaritans gives people the space to be themselves. We won’t judge or tell you what to do, we’re here to listen.”
Anyone can contact Samaritans for free in confidence any time from any phone on 116 123, even a mobile without credit, and the number won’t show up on your phone bill. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.samaritans.org to find details of your nearest branch where you can talk to one of their trained volunteers face to face.