Last week the Male Psychology Network reached a modest landmark in it’s development: our 100th successful membership application.
Knowing from our research that men can often get mental health benefits outside the mental health services (e.g. Roper & Barry, 2016), and often prefer to fix problems than talk about feelings (Holloway, Seager & Barry, in review), we are proud to include in our membership people who are active in supporting men’s mental health in a wide variety of contexts, from prisons and family courts, to sports fields and barber shops.
We recognise that men’s mental health is a complex issue, and men find crucial support from various sources and in various ways. Our membership includes Professors of psychology, psychotherapists, volunteers in male-centred community wellbeing programmes, charity helpline volunteers, and experts from from all over the world.
If you are interested in the wellbeing of men and boys, and indeed other aspects of male psychology (e.g. masculinity, sex differences, relationships, crime, education etc) then the Male Psychology Network is exactly the place to put your skills and experience to use. Joining the Network might be just the first step for you on the road to becoming a member of the Male Psychology Section of the British Psychological Society (BPS).
From early May to early June, the BPS is having a national ballot on whether there should be a Male Psychology Section of the BPS. If more members of the BPS vote yes to this than vote no, then we will have an excellent platform from which to focus our talents on dealing with some of the most serious issues facing psychology, from male suicide (three times higher than female suicide) to educational underachievement in boys (falling behind girls since the late 1980s). However it is not at all certain that the BPS membership will vote for the creation of a Male Psychology Section; many psychologists realise the psychological reality of the lives of boys and men are nuanced, and I only hope that they call come out to vote in May.
We see the future as one where the Male Psychology Section works in co-operation with other Sections of the BPS in order to explore issues that have tended to be overlooked in psychology in recent decades. We want to see better outcomes for the wellbeing of men and boys, not just a reduction in male suicide, incarceration and involvement in violent crimes, but also boys achieving more success in education and helping men deal with a range of issues that lead to shame and confusion about masculinity and their sexuality. We believe that psychologists, along with allies in other professions and occupations, can help to make this happen, leading to a truly positive revolution in the wellbeing of not only men and boys, but of society as a whole.
Interest in men’s mental health has increased steadily in the past decade, but this has happened almost exclusively in the community rather than in Psychology. Although the APA in the US has had a Division for Men and Masculinities since 1995, the UK has lagged far, far behind. It is time for the profession of Psychology to wake up to what most other people already know: the mental health and wellbeing of men and boys have been taken for granted for so long that we have failed to see that it has in fact become a massive public health issue. It’s time we started celebrating the good things about masculinity, and supporting the wellbeing of men and boys. Joining the Male Psychology Network is one small step in that direction.
Holloway K, Seager M, and Barry JA. Are clinical psychologists, psychotherapists and counsellors overlooking the gender-related needs of their clients? (in review).
Roper T, & Barry J A (2016). Is having a haircut good for your mental health? New Male Studies, 5(2).
John is one of the founders of the Male Psychology Network. After completing his PhD in psychological aspects of polycystic ovary syndrome, he joined University College London’s Institute for Women’s Health at the UCL Medical School in 2011. Since then he has published over 50 papers in various peer-reviewed journals, including in international-standard journals in gynaecology, cardiology and ophthalmology. Prompted by the considerable suicide rates among men and the establishment’s inertia in dealing with men’s mental health problems, in 2011 John led an independent research programme investigating the mental health needs of men and boys. John specialises in research methods (especially surveys and questionnaire development) and statistical analysis (e.g. meta-analysis, meta-regression), currently practices clinical hypnosis on a part-time basis and is an honorary lecturer with the Dept of Psychology, University College London. Email
Become a member of the Male Psychology Network http://www.malepsychology.org.uk/register/
Vote for a Male Psychology Section of the BPS http://www.malepsychology.org.uk/male-psychology-network/vote-for-a-male-psychology-section/