Please DO NOT DELETE this page.

Blog //
  • Wellbeing
//

The effect of isolation on Australian men | Men's mental health

31 May, 2017
Lonely man

No man is an island – but the stats suggest that an alarming number of Aussie men are feeling lonely. 

What we know about men's loneliness

  • Almost ¼ of men aged 30-65 (~ 1 million) are at risk of isolation
  • 25% of men have no one outside of their immediate family to rely on
  • 37% report they’re not satisfied with the quality of their relationships
  • 61% have lost contact with more friends than they would have liked to
  • 50% of men rarely talk about deep personal issues with friends
  • 31% don’t spend much time talking to their friends in general

Source: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/docs/default-source/research-project-files/bw0276-mens-social-connectedness-final.pdf?sfvrsn=4

Are men lonelier than women?

Surprisingly, there’s a lot of research on how loneliness impacts men and women differently. There are studies that suggest that, at the very least, university/young adult aged males feel lonelier than their female counterparts. Two of these studies, ‘The lonely college male’ and ‘Gender differences in loneliness and depression of university students seeking counselling’, showed that men were 10% more likely to feel an ‘intense sense of loneliness’. 

The latter study says the significantly different data between the sexes comes down to:

  • Fewer males being in an emotional relationship
  • Being unable to find a romantic partner
  • Inability or difficulty making friends
  • Self-reported lower esteem (thinking that they are ‘losers’)
  • Higher levels of alcohol consumption

It doesn’t seem to get better with age either – one study shows that unmarried men and widowers are lonelier, while another shows older men are more socially isolated, have less contact with loved ones and are beginning to outlive their partners.

Why are men lonelier?

Men are more harshly judged for being lonelier and less likely to admit they’re lonely

There are several possible factors, the foremost of which is that men are less likely to admit they’re lonely in the first place. This same study found that subjects participating were more likely to be ‘rejecting’ of lonely males in comparison to females, which begs the question of which comes first: the rejection or the unwillingness to admit feelings of loneliness?

It’s been hypothesised that this difference may be caused by societal expectations of men to be ‘tougher’ or to show more resilience and independence.

Men need more friends, more activities, and more often

Another barrier is a combination of time, energy and organisation. A study (commissioned by Guinness, no less) showed there were health benefits to guys meeting up with three or four of their close friends twice a week, another study showing men tend to seek clubs as opposed to intense one-on-one relationships.

It follows that the chance to form this kind of bond is harder due to restrictions on time and energy.

Men rely on their partners for social interactions

Further, males follow the cues of their female partners’ social interactions. From Janet Morrison, Chief Executive of Independent Age:

“In general, men rely more heavily on their partner to remain socially connected. When their partner dies, often a man’s social life shrinks.”

The previously mentioned Beyond Blue study similarly states that:

“Men living with a partner (regardless of whether this was with or without children) are significantly less likely to rate lack of social support/isolation as an issue (mean 3.8) than other groups (men living on their own - 4.3, living with friends - 4.5, and living with parents/family - 4.4).”

Support for Australian men

Here are some of the support programs specially designed to tackle men’s loneliness:

Australian Men’s Shed Association – www.mensshed.org

It’s all in the name – the Men’s Shed Association is all about building, whether it’s furniture or friendships. With over 985 locations around Australia, chances are there’s a shed near you.

Mens Line - https://www.mensline.org.au/

Men’s Line is a phone and online support service that offers ‘male-friendly’ counselling that can ensure you privacy and anonymity. It also features an active forum where men come together to give each other advice, guidance and support.

Man Therapy https://www.mantherapy.org.au

Man Therapy is an initiative put forth by Beyond Blue to help men understand and respond to their depression. Described as a toolkit, it gives men strategies and guidance on how to approach and cope with depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.

 

All information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only. The information provided should not be relied upon as medical advice and does not supersede or replace a consultation with a suitably qualified medical practitioner. CBHS endeavours to provide independent and complete information, and content may include information regarding services, products and procedures not covered by CBHS Health Cover policies. For full terms, click here.

1911_CBHS Skyscraper Banner-07

Suggested Articles

  • Older adults using fitness gadgets

    Top Fitness Trends of 2020

    We put our ears to the ground and asked the pros what top health and fitness trends we can expect to see in 2020.
    • Fitness
    21 January 2020
  • A tropical smoothie

    Treat yourself to a tropical smoothie

    Keep up your good intentions as January draws to a close and stay off the high fat, processed snacks. Treat yourself to this delicious tropical smoothie instead.
    • Nutrition
    21 January 2020
  • A person checking weight Loss

    Four simple rules to lose weight

    Dieting but not losing weight? You may have been given bad advice. Try following these four simple food rules to speed up your weight loss efforts.
    • Wellbeing
    16 January 2020
  • Face mask

    Should I be worried about smoke haze?

    Australia’s bush fire crisis has devastated many towns and rural communities. Cities not directly affected have been blanketed in smoke, but how hazardous is it?
    • Wellbeing
    16 January 2020

What Our Members Think

I joined as a CBHS member in 1978. Through many health events and challenges CBHS has always been there for me and my family. Their exceptional service over this time has always been appreciated.

- Jenny J

What Our Members Think

I've not long joined CBHS from another fund, but so far I've been impressed by the super helpful and friendly staff, the higher claim limits and rebates at a very competitive premium, and how easy it is to lodge manual claims through the app. Thanks CBHS - you've won me over! 😃

- Jessica B

What Our Members Think

What I love about CBHS is their customer service - friendly staff and always ready to help and email you the information you ask about. Keep up the great work!!!

- Linda S

What Our Members Think

I love CBHS as its so so easy to lodge a claim and whenever i need a question answered friendly consultant is one phone call away. The phone back option instead of waiting is brilliant!

- Rachel N

What Our Members Think

I have been with CBHS since I began at CBA 15 years ago...Now I have three beautiful children, one who has a disability. Our top extras cover has been really essential for his early intervention. I do love the ease of claiming online.

- Annette E

What Our Members Think

I am relatively new to CBHS and am loving it already. I worked for a CBA subsidiary a long time ago but was still eligible to join. So much better that the for-profit funds - our premium is only a little more and we pay a lower co-contribution and get great benefits. I am loving the massage rebate for my partner and gym rebate for me!

- David G

What Our Members Think

I'm extremely happy with CBHS! I have been a customer for about six years. I think the price is reasonable. And i would refer you to my family and friends any day. Thank you CBHS!!!

- Karen W

What Our Members Think

Love CBHS as I never have to doubt that they've got my back when I need it. Been through other insurers who have limited options or limits, yet cost the same or more.

- Mark F

Prev
Next