We've launched a new campaign featuring the apronym R.A.I.S.E. to help people spot the symptoms of depression in men and to encourage men who may be struggling to reach out for professional support this Men’s Health Awareness Month (November).

Our survey of more than 3,000 of our members found that half of practitioners (52%) reported an increase in men presenting with depression over the past year.

Despite this, more than half (56%) of therapists agreed that men are less likely to get mental health support than women and 47% reported that men are more sceptical of the benefits of therapy than women. This means many men may be suffering in silence, potentially due to societal pressures and stigma.

Alongside the more commonly recognised symptoms like low mood, men and women’s depression symptoms may vary. 50% of therapists reported men present with different depression symptoms than women. This means that depression in men can often go unnoticed if people don’t know what signs to look for. Some of these symptoms are outlined in our R.A.I.S.E. apronym:

R - Risk-taking

A - Anger

I - Isolation

S – Substance abuse

E – Exhaustion

To help support and encourage men to seek qualified help, BACP therapists have contributed to an online booklet which addresses these male-specific depression symptoms, explores how they manifest and offers tips on how to manage them.

Commenting on the findings, our member Anthony Davis said: “Depression in men gets often overlooked as men tend to live with their struggles silently. Their symptoms can also manifest in different ways than their loved ones would expect, meaning they can sometimes go unnoticed or unaddressed.

“From my work with men over the past year, I have experienced the number of men suffering from depression steadily increasing. We need to help men and their loved ones to understand and recognise potential symptoms - that’s why I welcome the introduction of the apronym R.A.I.S.E.

“Men might feel societal pressure of traditional gender roles, but strength is not found in the absence of struggle, it is found in the determination to rise above it. If you are experiencing depression, seek help, speak your truth, and remember that your emotional vulnerability is a testament to your courage.”

Additionally, Ewan Irvine, BACP Trustee and therapist, said: “It can be mentally and physical exhausting for men when they carry burdens around, believe they shouldn't cry and feel they should always be the strong ones.

We know that sometimes men find that substance abuse, such as alcohol and drugs, have in some way lessened feelings of anger and isolation, but in reality these make matters worse. It’s crucial men can recognise these symptoms of depression and understand that it’s ok not to be ok.

“There’s a strength in reaching out for help. Taking that first step may not be easy, but counselling can be transformative. It’s a safe space built on trust, confidentiality and is without judgement and allows men that time centred on them to talk about their own issues and problems.”

Seeking therapy can help men navigate the complexities of their mental health and break the silence surrounding their mental health challenges. Talking to a therapist can help men understand and explore their thoughts, feelings and behaviours and provide them with the tools they need to live happier lives.

Access our R.A.I.S.E. booklet and web content

The booklet provides not only a starting point to guide men towards steps they can take to improve their mental wellbeing but it’s also a useful tool for anyone worried about their loved ones, containing advice on how to raise the topic of therapy with them.

The booklet is not intended as an exhaustive solution to all mental health problems.