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Gender and Mental Health: Do Men Matter Too?

Gender and Mental Health: Do Men Matter Too?

The European Parliament Committee for Women’s Rights and Gender Equality recently produced a report entitled “promoting gender equality in mental health and clinical research”. This report was adopted by the Parliament in plenary in first quarter 2017.

Such a report should be welcome, even though it only contains recommendations rather than obligations. Mental health activists can use such reports as a tool to advocate for positive change on the ground, especially where there are deficits in understanding and service provision.

Unfortunately, the report falls short on numerous fronts.

Ignoring Men      

Firstly, the phrase “gender equality” is implicitly equated with women’s health throughout the report. Only two paragraphs out of 163 are devoted to men’s mental health. Likewise, a word count reveals that the words “women” and “girls” are mentioned 217 times, whereas “men” and “boys” are mentioned only 45 times.

Men have significantly higher rates of suicide, substance use and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Indeed, men make up over 75% of suicides in Europe, with over 43 000 European men killing themselves every year. Men are also significantly less likely to utilize mental health services compared to women, with only around 30% of service users being men.

These mental health inequalities are hardly discussed in the European Parliament report. As is often the case in these reports, the title is mendacious and does not reflect the report’s contents.

for more information please click on Gender and Mental Health: Do Men Matter Too?


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