Although the festive period is usually packed with social gatherings, one in three men feel lonely over Christmas.
That’s according to a survey of 2,000 men over the age of 25 by The Priory Group, which found that men often feel lonely even in the company of others.
It also found that a number of men suffer from anxiety as a result of the pressures they feel over the Christmas period.
Men between the ages of aged 25-35 were found to be the worst affected.
Whether it’s financial problems or pressure from work colleagues, unmarried men in relationships find themselves feeling anxious about the year to come more than single, married, cohabiting or widowed men, the survey found.
Nearly a quarter of males surveyed experience more financial stress at Christmas time compared to any other time of the year.
The top pressures men face at Christmas were:
- To attend work Christmas parties (42%)
- Financial worries (41%)
- Feeling pressure at work (30%)
- Worrying about the year ahead (25%)
- Spending time with family (20%)
- Job security (14%)
Over a quarter (26.3%) of those aged 25-34 feel anxious at the prospect of spending time with family over the festive period.
Dr Ian Drever, consultant psychiatrist at The Priory Hospital Woking, explained: “Anxiety is generally a ‘warning light’ which the body uses to flash up some kind of overload, such as an impending event, too much time pressure, difficult interpersonal relations, or too many demands to juggle.
“At Christmas, the nature of such demands increases greatly.
“Christmas is also loaded with expectations for young men – expectations of family and friends to help create and take part in a ‘perfect Christmas’ and expectations of society, that such behaviour is the norm, and that any deviation from this is a sign of weakness or selfishness.”
More than half of males surveyed in London (50.4%) said they found Christmas a particularly emotional time of year compared to 53.64% in the North East, 50.6% in the North West and 58.6% in Northern Ireland.
A total of 53% of males aged over 25 in Northern Ireland stated that stress negatively impacted their Christmas, with 44.8% working over the Christmas break to keep up with the pressure of work.
The majority (81.3%) of widowed males find Christmas an emotional time of year with 53.1% feeling lonely, even when around other people.
Out of all males surveyed, 25-34 year olds felt the loneliest at Christmas as opposed to the rest of the year and felt the highest pressure to work over the festive break to keep up with work targets.
Useful websites and helplines:
- Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
- Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
- Get Connected is a free advice service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org