Try to see it my way: Improving relationship support for men, published with Relate, explores men’s attitudes to seeking relationship support. It is part of a national awareness campaign from Relate to encourage men to think about their relationships and increase their participation in support programmes such as psychological therapies and relationship coaching.
 
According to the report, men have less access to emotional support from relatives and friends than women, are less likely to seek professional help for personal problems and less likely to consult relationship counselling services. They are more prone to ‘avoidance strategies’ such as the increased consumption of alcohol.
 
The report suggests work is a key factor. Men’s tendency to work longer working hours can cause relationship problems and conflicts around the life-work balance while financial difficulties can increase pressure on the male, who is often still the primary breadwinner in the family.
 
A new birth also often triggers relationship issues.
 
MHF policy officer David Wilkins, who wrote the report 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.’
 
Building on the recommendations of the report, the MHF is encouraging the government and support providers to make it easier for men to access relationship help and to collaborate with GPs and employers to support men who experience relationship difficulties. It also recommends sex and relationships education as part of school programmes.
 
Men's Health Week 2013 in June will look at mental health and say to men You only live once so talk to someone.