Is it getting tougher as a man?

Is it getting tougher as a man?

This month we have March for Men Week and Men's Health Week from the 11-18th June.

Centre Practitioner Marcus Matthews asks, "Is it getting tougher as a man?"


"In 2018, I experienced a profound upheaval. As a police officer and a former soldier, I reached the lowest point of my life, feeling desolate and suicidal. Now, one might ask, if I found myself in such a place again, would I react differently?

It's a straightforward answer: No.

A question arises from this, though. With the burgeoning awareness of various health concerns, be it physical conditions like prostate cancer or the many mental health awareness weeks we know exist, why is it that men still resist seeking help, even though the message is loud and clear:

It's good to talk, isn’t it?

Whenever I engage with colleagues, the data becomes increasingly apparent: around 80% of those seeking support are women. This statistic mirrors the figures within my own practice. Moreover, of the men who seek my services, 95% have been referred by a female partner or friend.

The numbers speak for themselves: three times as many men as women die by suicide. Men aged 40 to 49 hold the highest suicide rates in the UK. According to the Government's national well-being survey, men report lower levels of life satisfaction than women. Only 36% of referrals to NHS talking therapies are for men.

Drawing from my personal experience, seeking help was seen as a sign of weakness. I've faced the stigma first-hand.

When my mental health reached breaking point, my career was affected - promotional opportunities stopped, and even recently, I was told that my business insurance premiums would increase by 75% due to my past feelings of suicide.

Despite living in an era promoting equality of opportunity, many men, myself included, still feel they are responsible for caring for and protecting our families at any cost. Although I know that logically it isn’t true, that drive to serve and protect is in the male DNA, it’s evolved over millennia so we have a few campaigns to go before we change those primal feelings.

I remember a conversation with my wife, in which she assured me that our financial worries were non-existent due to her success. That statement felt like a dagger to my heart.

It's crucial that we sustain a diverse society, yet men are progressively feeling more isolated, disconnected, and lacking a sense of purpose.

So, why is it that men don't open up about mental health?

Traditional gender roles and societal expectations play a part in why men don't seek help for their mental health or physical health challenges. Research suggests that men who are unable to express their feelings openly may be less able to recognise signs of mental health issues in themselves and thus less likely to reach out for support. I know that was the case for me. As I reflect back on the knowledge, I now have the signs that were clear, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.


In the realm of mental health services, female counsellors outnumber males by more than five to one. This imbalance reflects societal stereotypes, leading men to rely more heavily on logic, engineering, and science. This approach doesn't always work when dealing with mental health issues, which often require an emotional and empathetic approach, and often services label, this is why I loathe the word mental health and prefer mental fitness, it should be a medal of honour not a label of misery.

In my mind Anxiety, PTSD and even a lack of confidence are the body and the mind's way of sharing the truth of who you are, but society deems these feelings as bad, not a wake-up call to show the world who you truly are.

You can’t do it alone.

There's a greater likelihood of men resorting to potentially harmful coping methods such as drugs or alcohol, and they are less likely to confide in their family or friends about their mental health.

You see all bad habits are linked to connection

In Johann Hari’s book Lost Connections Hari writes:

“Addiction is an adaptation. It's not you—it's the cage you live in. The opposite of addiction isn't sobriety. It's connection”.

Addiction comes in many forms, anxiety, depression, alcohol, drugs…..

However, when men find help that suits their preferences and is easily accessible, meaningful, and engaging, they are more likely to take advantage of it.


They feel connected to an outcome that provides connection, control, purpose and strength once more.

As a Clinical Hypnotherapist and Transformational Life Coach, I strive to empower my clients to regain control of their lives, which ultimately is what everyone desires, regardless of gender.

When men start to feel irritable and a sense that they've lost their purpose, it often manifests in anger, aggression, and risk-taking behaviours. However, society's response is often to penalise the individual instead of seeking the root cause of such behaviour.

So, what's the solution?

Having walked the lonely, broken path, my dream is to ensure no one else endures what I did.

You don't have to talk.
You don't have to spend months or years in therapy.

What you need to do is uncover the root cause of your feelings.

We need to build a society where everyone has a range of services available to them.

This why I believe in fostering choice, a choice which empowers individuals to select the solution that best fits their needs.

That's why I joined The Centre for Integral Health - because everyone deserves the right support at the right time, propelling them forward on their journey.

Connection is the key so why not connect today to find out how I can help you or someone you love?"


You can contact Marcus here for more support

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About the Centre

The Centre for Integral Health was started in 2013 by director Ben Calder after studying Integral theory since 2011 and over 10 years of professional practice of kinesiology and Bowen fascia Release Technique, coupled with the desire to explore the application of the Integral Model in relation to health.

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