Skip to content

Mental health experts warn Christmas can be difficult for men


By Charlie Wainwright

MEN WHO do not get into the Christmas spirit should not be labelled as Scrooges – they could need help for mental health issues, experts have warned.Psychologist Jane Tritton, 50, from Shrewsbury, said that “bah-humbug” attitudes could signal a bigger problem.

She said: “Christmas usually sees an increase in appointments for therapy.

“And January sees even more as Christmas brings home to them underlying family issues and financial strain which lowers mood further.”

The male suicide rate has been increasing and is now at its highest since 2001 according to Samaritans.

Statistics released by the helpline charity last year show the overwhelming reality of the gender stereotyping problem stifling male emotions.

Dom Cox, 22, is in a high stress job as a technical architect for Fujitsu and feels that when he is stressed or anxious he cannot express his emotions to other males.

“Maybe men don’t like opening up because it makes them feel less masculine.

“If a man doesn’t have a family to spend Christmas with and sees others experiencing joy it may make them plummet into a deeper depression.

“They feel weaker as a person if they let their emotions get the better of them so they get bottled up,” he said.

This ‘bottling up’ attitude has meant that the suicide rate of men aged between 45 and 59 years is currently at 25 per 100,000.

The epidemic means that men are four times more likely than women to take their own life. It is the biggest killer of men aged under 45 in England.

Author Dane Cobain, 27, from High Wycombe, has suffered with his mental health for over a decade and has tried to take his own life in the past.

He feels that Christmas is a particularly difficult time for men suffering with their mental health: “It’s easy to see how Christmas can be a hard time for depression sufferers when everyone else is in such a festive, buoyant mood.

“It can make you feel isolated and apart from people, more so than any other time of year.”

He also said that men who are struggling find it hard to speak out because of the stigma around the ‘macho male’ persona: “I can’t imagine myself actually talking to any of my male friends if I was having a tough time – if anything, I withdraw into myself and try not to talk to people at all.

“But if I did want to talk about it, I’d almost certainly speak to one of my female friends.”

What do you think?