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MBC calls for urgent action on structural triggers to poor male mental health

The Men and Boys Coalition has emphasised the crucial need to tackle structural issues behind poor male mental health, in expert written testimony submitted to a Women and Equalities Select Committee inquiry into the issue.

In the submission, the Coalition writes:

“The public discourse around men and boys’ mental tends to take a negative view of men, presenting a gender stereotype of stubbornly refusing to get help in order to maintain a strong and silent façade. While there may be some truth in this stereotype, there is general agreement among practitioners who specialise in working with men, that focusing on this deficit is unhelpful and the way forward is to develop male-friendly services that respond to men’s strengths.

“This public and public policy discourse (charactersied by the highly damaging phrase “Toxic Masculinity”) is shifting the blame for mental health problems that men and boys face as being primarily down to innate masculinity and/or the mental health problems they develop are the fault of men and boys. We believe it is vital that this phrase is not used in public discourse as it is a shaming phrase. It is essential that assumptions are not made about the behaviour of boys and young men and that they are not made to feel negative behaviour is an inevitable part of being male; most young men are respectful of young women and each other.

“A public discourse that places the overwhelming onus and responsibility on men and boys to address their own mental health problems is an avoidance of social, statutory service and Governmental responsibility. It is an excuse for society and policy makers to not address the structural causes of men and boys’ mental health problems and also for service providers to not create male friendly mental health services.”

In addition, MBC co-founder and trustee, Mark Brooks OBE, will give oral evidence to the committee, alongside fellow co-founder and trustee Duncan Craig, in his capacity as CEO of Survivors Manchester and coalition member, Sonia Shaljean, in her role as Managing Director and Founder, Lads Need Dads.

The Coalition’s full submission is available here:

http://www.menandboyscoalition.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Men-and-Boys-Coalition-Mental-Health-of-Men-and-Boys.pdf

Full details of the inquiry are available here:

https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/women-and-equalities-committee/inquiries/parliament-2017/mental-health-men-boys-inquiry-17-19/