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International Men’s Day: Starting a conversation about mental health


International Men’s Day is an important opportunity to raise awareness of the mental health issues that can affect men differently and disproportionately and empower them to start a conversation about their mental health.


On the 1st February 2021 The Burnt Chef Project launched The Burnt Chef Support Service.

A free text based service available 24/7 to anyone involved in hospitality who wishes to talk about their mental health. Simply text BURNTCHEF to 85258 to start your conversation.

The service is provided by Mental Health Innovations who operate the very successful SHOUT service who today have released a report looking at the research on men’s mental health and explore the issues men are texting the service for support with


Men’s mental health in the UK


1 in 8 men in England have a common mental health problem, compared to 1 in 5 women. While fewer men than women in the UK are reported to experience mental health problems, research shows that mental health challenges can affect men differently and disproportionately to women, and that the intersection between mental health and other factors, such as race and socio-economic status, can often compound the issues affecting men and boys:


● Men die by suicide at three times the rate of women in England and Wales

● Men are more likely to experience factors that can have a negative impact on their mental health than women, including homelessness, alcohol or drug dependency, being a victim or perpetrator of crime and being in prison

● Men in the UK report lower levels of life satisfaction, happiness and belief that what they do in life is worthwhile compared to women

● Men of African and Caribbean heritage are more than six times as likely to be admitted as inpatients or detained under the Mental Health Act than white men

● Men are less likely to access psychological therapies than women; only 36% of referrals to NHS talking therapies are for men


Accessing mental health support


Despite the prevalence of mental health challenges amongst men in the UK, many men are unlikely to seek support or speak to others about their experiences or emotions. For example, men are two times less likely to access psychological therapies than women. We also see this in the proportion of men and women who text Shout for support, with four times as many women as men (77% vs 17%) reaching out. Societal expectations and stereotyped gender roles can play a role here. Men can be ‘expected’ to be strong, dominant and in control, which can make it harder to reach out for help and open up.


Some research also suggests that men who can’t speak openly about their emotions may be less able to recognise symptoms of mental health problems in themselves, and therefore are less likely to reach out for support. In fact, 44% of men who have texted for support have never asked for help elsewhere and only 18% have been to see a therapist or doctor about their concerns.


Men’s use of Shout in 2021

So far in 2021, trained Shout Volunteers have taken around 62,800 conversations with texters who identify as male and who are struggling to cope.


Depression (35%), suicide (34%) and anxiety or stress (33%) are the most common issues that have arisen in conversations with boys and men in 2021, followed by relationships (26%), loneliness (17%) and self-harm (9%). Male texters are slightly more likely than female texters to mention challenges with relationships (26% vs 23%) and loneliness (17% vs 15%), while being around two times less likely to mention self-harm (9% vs 16%) and eating or body image issues (2% vs 5%).


Helping men to start a conversation about their mental health


According to the Mental Health Foundation, there is research to suggest that men will access help when they feel it meets their preferences, and is easily accessed, meaningful and engaging.


The nature of a text messaging service appeals to men. Not only is it a silent way to communicate, alleviating some of the pressure men can feel around talking about their worries out loud, but it is also free, confidential and anonymous and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Half (49%) of men who text say they have no one else to talk to.


If you feel this way or have a friend, colleague or loved one who might find our service useful, please know we’ve got your back.


If you’re experiencing difficulties and want to reach out to someone, please text BURNTCHEF to 85258. Free and in confidence, 24/7.


𝗕𝗨𝗥𝗡𝗧𝗖𝗛𝗘𝗙 𝘁𝗼 𝟴𝟱𝟮𝟱𝟴 (𝗨𝗞)

𝗛𝗢𝗠𝗘 𝘁𝗼 𝟳𝟰𝟭𝟳𝟰𝟭 (𝗨𝗦𝗔 & 𝗖𝗔𝗡𝗔𝗗𝗔)

𝗖𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝟬𝟴𝟬𝟬 𝟵𝟭𝟱 𝟰𝟲𝟭𝟬 (𝗜𝗿𝗲𝗹𝗮𝗻𝗱)

𝗖𝗔𝗟𝗟 𝟭𝟴𝟬𝟬 𝟭𝟵𝟴 𝟯𝟭𝟯 (𝗔𝘂𝘀𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗹𝗶𝗮)

𝗖𝗔𝗟𝗟 𝟬𝟴𝟲𝟭 𝟯𝟮𝟮 𝟯𝟮𝟮 (𝗦𝗼𝘂𝘁𝗵 𝗔𝗳𝗿𝗶𝗰𝗮)


𝗔𝗻𝘆𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗲 𝗱𝗮𝘆 𝗼𝗿 𝗻𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗮 𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗶𝗻𝗲𝗱 𝘃𝗼𝗹𝘂𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗲𝗿 𝘄𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗮𝗶𝗺 𝘁𝗼 𝗿𝗲𝘀𝗽𝗼𝗻𝗱 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻 𝟱 𝗺𝗶𝗻𝘂𝘁𝗲𝘀.


“Thanks for taking the time to be here and to understand what I was going through, I felt like you were on my [side] rooting for me and that meant a lot when I was feeling quite lost.” Feedback from BURNTCHEF TEXTER


100% of users say they found The Burnt Chef Project Support Service helpful.




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