A survey of 2,445 American men has revealed the impact of social distancing on men’s health since the start of the pandemic. While men are often stereotyped as less inclined to discuss their feelings (with 1 in 10 having experienced feelings of depression and anxiety on a daily basis, yet less than half (41%) have sought help from a mental health professional), it appears that the absence of meet-ups with their friends has had a significant impact on their general well-being. Whether it is hanging at the barber shop, watching sports in a bar or cards in the basement on a weeknight, the survey by AlcoholRehab.com has revealed how much men miss just being with their buddies.
Half of those polled in Indiana (49%) revealed they have often felt depressed as a result of having limited contact with friends since the start of the pandemic. Interestingly, 1 in 5 (15%) of them said that in pre-pandemic times, they’d offload to their friends before their partner about any issues they might have (perhaps not wanting to burden their significant other or worry them unduly).
But what is it that men have missed the most discussing with friends? Understandably, the survey found that nearly a quarter (23%) discussed relationship issues and a similar amount talked about family issues. However, it is work-related issues that men are most willing to get off their chest (46%). Since so many are working from home, they are unable to discuss issues with work colleagues. Money issues preoccupy 8% of men.
“Bonding over alcohol is nothing out of the ordinary – some employers even encourage drinking among coworkers during team-building activities or as a routine occurrence after work, and many people often drink with their friends,” said Courtney Messina, outpatient clinical director at Greenhouse Treatment Center and spokesperson for AlcoholRehab.com. “If drinking with others took place frequently, now is the time to check on those close to you. Habitual drinking can lead to problematic drinking, which can devolve into dependency. If you suspect that you, a friend or coworker is having trouble coping with these difficult times and may have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, take the time to understand all options available and provide support when needed.”
When it comes to bonding, a substantial 70% said they are happiest when just hanging out together. Nearly 1 in 5 (16%) feel they bond most when watching or playing sports together, and more than 1 in 10 (14%) say it is when they drink together.
The most popular drinking session is during the Super Bowl; 33% of men say this yearly event represents the best drinking session of them all and nearly a quarter (24%) prefer to share beers on Christmas Eve. Twenty-one percent enjoy a session on New Year’s Eve and the same amount enjoy drinks over Thanksgiving. Of course, this year will be very different; thanks to social distancing measures, many men (and women) may have to spend these normally significant social occasions with far fewer friends or family.