Just three in ten men in Ireland would attend counselling or psychotherapy, a survey from the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP) has found.
The figures come as a new Dublin mural is unveiled to encourage men to seek therapy if they are struggling with their mental health.
Created as part of the “Look After Yourself” campaign by the IACP, the mural was unveiled on Montague Lane in Dublin city.
The campaign encourages men aged 25-34 to normalise therapy and speak to a counsellor if necessary.
The survey also found that men are less likely than women to have personally attended a counselling or psychotherapy session.
One in nine men reported attending a session compared to one in seven women.
The artist behind the mural, Joe Caslin, said that the figures in his work represent ordinary people and their own experiences.
Mr Caslin said: “The figures that populate my murals are ordinary people, that in turn become spokespeople for their own experiences.
“The ‘Look After Yourself’ campaign is all about ordinary young males and encouraging them to be vulnerable and speak to a therapist.”
Mr Caslin said that the IACP survey shows there is a lot of work still to be done in changing social attitudes to therapy, however.
“Therapy shouldn’t be seen as a sign of weakness, it should be seen as a sign of huge strength,” he said.
GAA star and founder of the charity Half Time Talk, Philly McMahon, said mental health is as important as physical health and that younger generations need to know this from an early age.
Mr McMahon said: “Your mental game is just as important as your physical game and the younger generation need to learn this from an early age, that looking after your mental health is key to your overall health.
“There is no failure in going to see a therapist.”
Many thanks for Joe Caslin’s amazing work on the mural. Here are some BTS photos of the launch of #lookafteryourself. Thanks so much to Philly and Shane for coming out and braving the rain with us. #mensmentalhealth pic.twitter.com/MxGPgVqaZK
— Irish Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (@IACP_ie) July 7, 2020
The IACP was established in 1981 and promotes and maintains best professional practise in counselling and psychotherapy standards through education, training and accreditation.
Speaking at the campaign launch, Chief Executive of the IACP, Lisa Molloy said: “These figures show that young men need to be encouraged to look after their mental health.
“Our hope with this campaign is that it will motivate them to start talking and asking for help. We want to show them that attending therapy is normal and a safe space for them to be themselves”.
2 in 5 women told the survey they would be “very likely” to attend therapy if struggling in some way with their mental health.
The IACP said the figures for men stood in stark contrast.