Calling all men - Beat the Stigma – Your mental health does matter!

Date published: 18 November 2019

Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride is encouraging men to look after their mental health and open up about problems that may be causing anxiety or despair.

Mental Health Beat the Stigma Image
Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride

Speaking ahead of International Men’s Day 2019 Dr Mc Bride said: “International Men’s Day celebrates the positive value men bring to the world, their families and communities.

“It would be remiss of me not to highlight the fact that not all men feel valuable due to their emotional well-being.

“In Northern Ireland men are less likely to access mental health services than women and more needs to be done to address this issue.

“Earlier this year in my 11th Annual Report as Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland I focussed on positive mental health.

“Our mental health is how we think, feel and act. It controls how we manage day-to-day life and stressful situations.”

Dr McBride continued: “One of the main barriers to seeking help for mental health problems is stigma. Stigma can significantly worsen someone’s mental health problems, defining them as someone with an illness rather than a person with a meaningful voice and contribution to make. 

“Stigma should not be used as an acceptable excuse for not seeking help. Stigma is real but it can be overcome if we work together through identification, intervention and referral to targeted support.

“We all need to tackle stigma to create a lasting, positive change in people’s attitudes, especially in men, towards mental health and to better inform people on the facts.

Help break mental health stigma!”

1 in 5 people in Northern Ireland will be affected by mental ill-health in their lifetime. The other 4 will know a friend, family member or colleague who will.

In the CMO Report Dr McBride highlights a number of organisations that provide help and support.

Lifeline is the Northern Ireland crisis response helpline service for people who are experiencing distress or despair. Lifeline counsellors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to listen and help in confidence.

Phone: 0808 808 8000

Samaritans provides confidential, emotional support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair.

Phone 116 123. Calls are free.


There are a number of mental health organisations in your area that can provide help and support and can be accessed from

Notes to editors: 

1. The Change Your Mind campaign, supported by the Public Health Agency (PHA), Comic Relief and Inspire, was launched on 10th October 2016 as part of a wider programme of work in schools and workplaces to help reduce stigma around mental health.

The campaign brings together the work of the PHA and Inspire to reduce levels of stigma, discrimination, and negative attitudes towards people who experience mental ill-health. It also builds on the PHA’s campaigns to reduce barriers and encourage help-seeking behaviours, and Comic Relief's commitment to supporting mental wellbeing and breaking down the associated stigma and discrimination.  More information can be found at

2. In September, the Department of Health launched its Protect Life 2 - 2019-24 long-term strategy for reducing suicides and the incidence of self-harm with action delivered across a range of Government departments, agencies, and sectors.

It recognises that no single organisation or service is able to influence all the complex interacting factors that lead someone to harming themselves or, ultimately, to taking their own life.

More information on the Protect Life 2 – Suicide Prevention Strategy can be found at

3. Dr McBride’s Annual Report 2018/19 can be accessed at

4. For media enquiries please contact the Department of Health Press Office on 028 9052 0575 or email For out of hours please contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110.

5. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt

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