Health and Wellbeing

On Your Head Son! Men’s mental health awareness event and support

Will, our Student Intern, tells us about the ‘On Your Head Son’ football tournament and why men’s mental health awareness is so important…

football tournament

Our tournament referees pictured with the four semi-finalists (left to right)


On Sunday 17th April, Student Minds and the Cardiff University ‘s Student Support & Wellbeing Service hosted a 5-a-side football tournament to promote male mental health awareness.
Organising events like these is a very effective method for gathering students together for a good cause. We hosted a similar tournament last year and aimed to build from that success. This year, we had a fantastic response with 8 teams taking part and approximately 60 male Cardiff University students attending the tournament.

Such great attendance naturally spreads the message we are trying to convey. Many males who are facing life struggles or overwhelming emotions, are often told to ‘man up’ to maintain their masculine ‘stiff upper lip’. Friends or family may say this to provide a simple wake-up call or kick up the backside and this can be effective for helping some people to get back on track. However, in several cases for many individuals, this is not enough.


Why is it important to be aware of men’s mental health?

Many males may feel that they have to bottle up their emotions and feelings as this is the ‘manly’ thing to do. However, many research findings will inform you that not releasing these emotions can cause an internal build-up and eventually lead to mental health issues. Mental health problems obviously occur in both men and women but the statistics for male mental health are harrowing.


Men’s Mental Health Statistics

  • Nearly four in five suicides (78%) are by men and is the biggest cause of death for men under 35
  • 5% of men in the UK were diagnosed with a mental health disorder
  • Men are nearly three times more likely than women to become alcohol dependent (8.7% of men are alcohol dependent compared to 3.3% of women)
  • 1 in 8 men are diagnosed with a common mental illness such as anxiety, depression, panic disorder or OCD

These statistics highlight a monumental gender difference in dealing with personal mental health problems and accessing mental health services. There is certainly a stigma against male mental health treatment, but not all is doom and gloom. Highlighting the stigma and raising awareness of the problem is a huge step towards ridding society of it. Charities such as ‘Movember UK’ are a great example of how discussing these issues can successfully raise awareness and donations. Progress is certainly being made.


Congratulations and special thanks to

Special thanks naturally goes to all of the players who attended the tournament. Every team and individual displayed a great set of skills that made the tournament a very well contested and entertaining affair. Yet, only one team could win it and congratulations goes to ‘Les Chiffres’, the tournament winners. Credit is also due to ‘Real Taly’ and ‘Bentekkers’ coming 2nd and 3rd place. Congratulations also goes to Yusuf of ‘Bentekkers’ who was awarded Man of the Tournament with some exceptional attacking displays. It was great to see so many of the players at the Vulcan pub afterwards for a relaxing drink and bite to eat.

Overall, the day’s proceedings went very well and I hope to see similar events organised in the future. Increased discussion of the stigmas surrounding the male attendance of mental health services will help to ensure the witnessed gender differences become a thing of the past.


What kind of support is available?

Cardiff University’s Counselling, Health & Wellbeing Team – Watch our video and see for yourself that we have friendly and approachable staff. Staff who are able to listen to you non-judgmentally, in a safe and confidential space. Whatever it is you need help with please contact us Tel: 0292020742070 Email: or search ‘Counselling, Health and Wellbeing’ on the intranet. You can access our drop-in from Monday-Friday 3-3:45pm for a non-bookable, 10-15 minutes appointment to have an initial chat with us or, alternatively, please refer into our service by completing our referral questionnaire.

If you are worried about your health, we strongly advise you to make a GP appointment to discuss this. If you do not already have GP please contact Park Place Surgery.


Men’s advice line: 08088010327 /

DYN Wales: 0808 8010321 /

For Heterosexual, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Men experiencing domestic abuse:

Beat: 03456341414 /

For anyone affected by an eating disorder:

Nightline: 02920870555 /


Related post: All you need to know about our online counselling and wellbeing services.


Best wishes,
Will, Student Intern


Your Student Life, Supported.

The Student Support Centre has a range of services dedicated to helping students make the most of their time at University, including: Advice & Money, Careers & Employability, Counselling, Health & Wellbeing, Disability & Dyslexia and International Student Support.

The Student Support Centres are located at 50 Park Place, Cathays Campus and Cardigan House, Heath Park Campus.

For further details of services, events, opening times and more find us on the University Intranet.


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