One in four men who rang the Samaritans talked about their feelings of loneliness or isolation, the emergency counselling service disclosed last night.
Almost as many cited relationship problems as their reason for calling the Samaritans, while one in seven said they were ringing because of money troubles.
Suicidal feelings were expressed by one in five men, 20 per cent of whom mentioned previous suicide attempts.
Releasing details of a new analysis of contacts, the organisation warned that isolation among middle-aged men – particularly those without a job or a partner – was a key factor in their relatively high risk of suicide.
Its chief executive, Catherine Johnstone, said men today were more likely to live alone and to have fewer close friendships than women – and that these relationships tended not to be based on “talking about feelings”. Men were more likely to be reluctant to admit they were struggling to cope, she said.
Ms Johnstone added: “We have to stop putting on pressure on men to live up to societal views of what it is to be a ‘real man’.”
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies