27 May 2020

New Movember research looks into how men are coping during COVID-19

A chat with a friend could really help, according to 1 in 2 men
Men's Health | Mental Health | Staying Connected
8 MIN READ
 

With COVID-19 presenting once-in-a-lifetime challenges to everyone across the world, Movember commissioned a survey of people across the UK, US, Canada and Australia to understand the impact of the pandemic on men, social connection and mental health.
 
The study[i] conducted by the Social Research Centre uncovered some interesting insights into what’s happened during these challenging times.
 
While 84 per cent of men surveyed say they find it helpful to have a conversation about a difficult time they’re facing, almost half (45%) say no-one has asked them how they’re coping during COVID-19.
 
Connections with friends and work colleagues are the relationships that have suffered most, with more than half of men (54% and 52% respectively) saying they feel less connected to these people.

 
“While we know these conversations can often feel uncomfortable or awkward, checking in on your mates and loved ones can make the world of difference.”
 

More than 1 in 5 men (23%) reported their mental health had worsened compared with before COVID-19, while 1 in 3 (30%) admitted they felt lonely more often.
 
The top five scenarios causing greater worry for men through this period are the health of vulnerable relatives (54%); getting sick (53%); job loss (49%); physical health and diet (43%); and having enough money for daily living costs (41%).
 
Older men are most likely to have experienced poorer social connection, with 60 per cent of men aged 45+ years reporting they feel less connected to their friends since the COVID-19 outbreak, compared with 48 per cent of men aged 18–24 years, and 46 per cent of men aged 25–34 years.
 
Dr Zac Seidler, Director of Mental Health Training at Movember, said: “These findings indicate that guys are hungry for connection and in need of support in these trying times.
 
“While we know these conversations can often feel uncomfortable or awkward, checking in on your mates and loved ones can make the world of difference.
 
“Don’t assume they don’t want to be bothered or don’t want to talk. Just making the call can go a long way.”
 
Movember is committed to tackling the crisis in men’s mental health through its investment in early intervention and prevention programs.
 
According to Brendan Maher, Movember Global Director of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, this is why the charity has launched Movember Conversations, a new easy-to-use interactive online tool, that offers practical guidance on how to start a difficult conversation and support someone who is struggling.

Our new tool that gives you the confidence to have conversations with the men in your life who may be struggling.

I’m sick of this. I miss friends. I miss people.
Yeah. Me too. But this won’t last forever.
Yeah, I guess so.
I just don’t know what to do.
What would you say next?
 

 “People know it’s important to have conversations to support others; however, confidence and knowledge around how to do this with men is low.
 
"What’s making things even harder are the challenges thrown up by COVID-19, and its consequences of physical distancing, job loss, financial stress and strain on relationships.”

Based on R U OK?’s ALEC conversation framework (Ask, Listen, Encourage action, Check in) and guided by an international team of mental health experts, Movember Conversations is a free interactive digital tool that presents a number of scenarios relevant to today’s world including job loss, social isolation and family pressures. It uses simulated conversations to explore and practise how anyone might navigate a difficult conversation with someone they care about.
 
“We hope that this tool will encourage people to have conversations with men they care about who might be going through a tough time. Movember Conversations gives them the practical skills to do that,” Brendan said.

Movember Conversations can be found at conversations.movember.com.

If you're feeling low or overwhelmed, don't hesitate to reach out for support using these local support resources.

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[i]The Social Research Centre conducted a survey, on behalf of Movember, through an online panel with 5,737 people aged 18 or older across the UK, US, Canada and Australia (approximately 1,430 respondents in each country, including 809 men in the UK, 804 men in the US, 794 men in Canada and 806 men in Australia). Response quotas were set based on age, region and gender and the final data was weighted to reflect the profiles of each country. Fieldwork ran from 22nd April – 4th May 2020.