New research has been released today by Public First and commissioned by Kindred Group, Tackling The Stigma: using the power of sport to support men’s mental health. The study has reported over 4 million working-class men are suffering in silence with their mental health in the UK.

The findings of the report showed:

  • 40% of all UK adults have suffered from the symptoms of a mental health issue in the past 12 months – with 27% having been clinically diagnosed.
  • 4.34 million (28%) working-class  men have suffered the symptoms of a mental health issue that they thought might require treatment in the last 12 months but decided not to seek medical help.
  • 26% of working-class men who showed signs of depression in the survey also declared in the same survey that they had never suffered from the symptoms of a mental health condition(compared to 19% of women) – highlighting both a lack of willingness to admit having a problem as well as a lack of understanding of the symptoms.
  • The survey indicated that working-class men are less aware of the symptoms of mental health issues (54% aware compared to 66% of the rest of UK adults).

The survey revealed that 1.7 million (11%) working-class men had to take some time off work, 2.3 million (15%) found it difficult to focus, and 1.2 million (8%) lost or changed their job through experiencing symptoms of mental ill-health. The report also revealed that:

  • A 2% decrease in depression rates could be worth up to £150 million to the economy.
  • It could equally reduce the number of sick days by 300,000.
  • The cost-benefit to businesses directly would be £22.5 million.
  • This moderate improvement could also put around 5000 people back into the workforce, by helping both those who suffer with mental health issues and those who take time off to care for them.

The cost to the economy is clear along with the knowledge a solution is needed.

The report  highlighted  how men are reluctant to access mental health services because of perceived stigma and that asking for help is ‘unmanly’, The research also highlighted a possible solution, this being sport!  polling found that working-class men are considerably more likely to follow sports than other social groups, and football in particular along with being more likely to consider sport to be an important part of their lives and the local community.

The report showed that through the passion and interest of sport such as of football, schemes like Derby County Community Trust’s Team Talk initiative could be a potential solution, allowing men to meet on their own terms using the football club’s brand to engage them in a way that traditional mental health services do not.

Whilst these initiatives are being set up and growing we need to remember the importance of promoting conversation and raising awareness of mental health in the workplace. Imagine the benefits of a workplace where  employees had been on a mental health awareness course and were able to help signpost each-other to such initiatives.

For information on how to access mental health awareness training along with mental health first aid qualifications please contact us at or take a look training here

The full repot an be found here