FEB 25 2013 / Try to see it my way - Relate's report on men and relationships
Relate, the leading relationship support organisation, in partnership with the Men’s Health Forum, today launches a new report that demonstrates how men are often in the dark about relationship difficulties which leads to worse outcomes for them and their families if the relationship ends.
The report is launched against a back-drop of statistics which make grim reading for men:
1.As many as four in ten children being brought up by their mothers have no contact with their fathers at all
2.Men are at greater risk of suicide in the aftermath of a relationship break-down
3.Men are less likely to enjoy the support of a network of friends to support them in the aftermath of a relationship breakdown
4.Men make up just 36 per cent of the total numbers of people referred into IAPT - the national programme for psychotherapeutic support
5.Services designed to support the relationship needs of individuals and couples are not “male-friendly” enough – 56 per cent of the client base of Relate is female compared with 44 per cent male
The report, Try to see it my way: Improving relationship support for men calls on policymakers across health, education and social care to make changes based on the specific relationship support needs of men. It calls for “male-friendly” methods of delivering relationship support and for GPs and employers to play their part in opening up services to men. These are needed to prevent relationship breakdown and prevent the risks attached to men and relationship breakdown.
The report also recommends that personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) should include good quality sex and relationships education and should be offered to all young people as a statutory requirement. This will help young people to form strong and healthy relationships and provide good male role models.
One of the key findings is that men and women react differently to the important ‘life-events’ which include:
•Work-related problems– men work longer hours and their work-life balance tends to be poorer which can cause friction in the relationship
•Financial difficulties– men still tend to be the main bread-winner and so there is more pressure on them when loss of employment is threatened or becomes a reality
•Bereavement and illness– grief and bereavement from the loss of a parent can destabilise a relationship and men are less likely than women to recognise the need for professional help to talk about mental and emotional strain
•Alcohol & substance misuse– men are twice as likely to suffer from alcohol use disorder compared with women
•Childcare roles & responsibilities– men are more likely than women to identify the tension between the demands of work and the desire to get involved in childcare
Relationship counsellors also report that men have different expectations of counselling, and cannot spot the warning signs of a relationship in trouble. Men attend counselling to “solve problems”, whilst women see the meeting as a chance to talk about difficulties and review the health of the relationship.
Commenting on the findings, Chief Executive of Relate, Ruth Sutherland said: “Relationships are at the very core of who we are and how we function in society. We have been aware for some time that men don’t like to trouble their doctors or can’t find time to access health services, but this is the first time we have really found the same pattern when it comes to getting help for, or even talking about, relationship difficulties. It is clear that some men need help that is more practical and solution-focused and the sector must find ways of adapting our services. ”
The author of the report, David Wilkins, policy officer for the Men’s Health Forum said: “I hope we have moved past the 'men are from Mars and women are from Venus' debate but we can't ignore the evidence that some men don't look after their health and wellbeing as well as they could. It's a particular problem that men may be more likely to delay seeking help. Support services need to meet men halfway.”
The report, Try to see it my way: Improving relationship support for men is launched a month into a national awareness campaign encouraging men to get help for their relationships. Adverts have gone into washrooms of football and rugby clubs and online – information, advice and support is available for men at: www.wheresyourhead.org