A silent epidemic has spread and we should be talking about it.
Prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic 3 out of 4 UK suicides were male, and the leading cause of death in men under the age of 35 (ONS, 2017).
Described as a ‘silent epidemic’ due to the lack of public awareness, male mental health was critically at risk and could not afford further demands (BPS.org.uk, 2018).
Moreover, enforced lockdown created high levels of social isolation, which imposed a further challenge on mental health for those already vulnerable, and for those who then became susceptible to
The confinements of quarantine imposed new restrictions on an already struggling male population, and influenced high levels of loneliness, confusion and co-morbidities such as agoraphobia,
obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety.
Due to the lack of social connectedness, established routines and uncertainty of future
prospects, male mental health has become further burdened leading to poorer mental health outcomes.
Psychologist Abraham Maslow argued that the foundation of basic human survival needs where physiological; food, water, warmth and rest.
These needs underpinned a hierarchy of subsequential needs that best support emotional wellbeing and mental health.
However, the pandemic jeopardised these fundamentals in that many individuals found themselves out of work, uncertain of future work and financially vulnerable.
Therefore, many could not adequately guarantee the provision of basic needs. Maslow posited that without successfully navigating to safety and security needs, an individual could be prone to the onset of mental illness.
This, he suggested, could manifest in symptomology response of anxiety, disturbed sleep, panic and potentially leading to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The imposition of the pandemic has challenged human survival, not only in the associated health risks, but also in jeopardising people’s livelihoods and their ability to financially support themselves and their families.
It has reduced individual ability to freedom of choice and autonomy, and has for many taken away their ability to control and mitigate risk factors to their survival.
Therefore, exposing an already vulnerable male population to the core triggers
of emotional instability, unpredictable mental wellbeing, and essentially high levels of PTSD and lower quality of life outcomes.