Ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week, new research from LV= General Insurance ( LV=) and its charity partner Family Action revealed as many as four in five men are covering up their problems.
The research revealed nearly one in five men did not know where to turn to when they needed help and support with their problems, with 20 per cent feeling too embarrassed to ask and 17 per cent thinking no one cared.
In response, LV= is launching a new initiative providing men with a safe space to talk about their problems where they would least expect it - in their local repair garage.
The initiative will provide employees and customers at the insurer’s branded bodyshops direct, confidential access to someone to talk to via specially designed Family Action phones, installed in many of the insurer’s garages up and down the country - including in Portsmouth.
Phones will direct users to Family Action’s FamilyLine service, a helpline which offers free support and guidance for adult family members by text, phone, web chat and email. Callers can also be referred to additional services which include counselling, coaching and befriending.
The scheme has been launched in garages - where around 90 per cent of the workforce is men.
Of the family members who reach out to FamilyLine, only 17 per cent of callers so far this year have been men, who have been asking for support with parenting issues and mental health.
The research also revealed how two in five men admit feeling the pressures of family life more than ever before in 2022, with nearly half saying they have needed support this year.
Despite this, 40 per cent would rather talk to a stranger about their problems than friends or family. Meanwhile, 74 per cent of men report they have not received the help they have needed so far this year.
Financial difficulties caused by the rising cost of living (40 per cent), worrying about what the future holds (37 per cent) and concerns about children who have fallen behind as a result of the pandemic (25 per cent ) are topping the list of things men are most worried about.
Worryingly, mental health and financial worries were listed as the problems men are most likely to keep to themselves and not share.
Heather Smith, managing director at LV= General Insurance said: ‘Through our work with Family Action’s vital service FamilyLine, we’re proud to offer families a means to access free, guidance and l support with a range of issues, from parenting to more complex problems
‘We’ve seen from our research that men are much less likely to reach out for help, and the data from FamilyLine shows this.’
Ayse Hassan, head of helpline at Family Action, said: ‘Clearly the current cost-of-living crisis has put even more pressure on families who were already vulnerable. FamilyLine has seen a steady rise in the number of calls in the last 12 months, with a 30 per cent increase in contacts in 2021 compared with the year before.’
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Family Action phones can be found at ABL 1Touch in the city.