Countryside men ‘less likely to seek mental health support’

Men who live in urban areas are more likely to get help, a new poll for Samaritans suggests.

01 March 2022

Men who live in the countryside are less likely to seek mental health support compared with men in the city, a new poll suggests.

Samaritans said men in rural areas appear to be put off seeking help due to a perceived stigma around mental health, not knowing who to turn to, or lack of awareness of support available.

A survey carried out by the mental health charity found that just over two in five (43%) men who live in the countryside would be willing to reach out for support or talk to someone if they were struggling with their mental health.

This compares with half of men (51%) in urban areas, according to the poll of 2,000 adults across the UK.

Six in 10 women who live in the countryside would seek help if they were struggling.

It comes as Samaritans and the National Farmers’ Union Mutual Charitable Trust are working together to reach men in rural communities who are struggling with mental health issues before they reach crisis point.

Samaritans said evidence suggests that suicide rates are higher in countryside areas compared with urban areas, and rural-based occupations, such as those in agriculture, have also been shown to have an increased risk of suicide.

Michael Brown, from North Yorkshire, who runs his own agricultural business, said: “Up until my suicide attempt, I didn’t think I had any problems.

“It’s only after getting the help I should have sought before that it became apparent that I was in a really dark and lonely place.

“The rural community is fantastic but there is isolation and remoteness – you don’t see anybody new, you don’t get to know what’s going on, and that’s difficult because you’re not coming across people to talk to.

“I’ve learnt how important it really is to talk – I think it’s naturally harder for men to open up, particularly men in rural communities, where there is still stigma around talking about mental health.”

Paul McDonald, executive director of external affairs at Samaritans, said: “Samaritans is here for anyone struggling to cope, no matter who you are or where you are.

“The increased risk for those living in rural and agricultural settings due to poor access to services, isolation and persistent loneliness mean it’s essential we do more to reach people in these environments.”

Jim McLaren, chairman of NFU Mutual, said: “As a farmer myself, I’m all too aware of how isolation is affecting rural communities.

“Finding a safe, non-judgmental space to explore their feelings could be a person’s first step on their journey to looking after their recovery.”

– People in need of assistance can call Samaritans free of charge 24 hours a day on 116 123, or by visiting https://www.samaritans.org/

More from Perspective

Get a free copy of our print edition


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed

Your email address will not be published. The views expressed in the comments below are not those of Perspective. We encourage healthy debate, but racist, misogynistic, homophobic and other types of hateful comments will not be published.