More than four in ten (42%) unpaid carers in the UK are male, according to new research launched today by Carers Trust and the Men’s Health Forum.

The report ‘Husband, Partner, Dad, Son, Carer?’ was commissioned by Carers Trust to look into the experiences and needs of male carers, and to help raise awareness of the fact that they might not be getting the support they need.

Thea Stein, Chief Executive of Carers Trust commented: “Caring is often regarded as a female issue but the statistics tell us differently. More than four in ten of the UK’s unpaid carers are male – which means an enormous 2.5 million men in the UK. Despite this they are often not recognised and go unsupported. Men who are caring often don’t feel able to ask for support at work, and often feel that support services are based around the needs of women. We need to ensure employers, families and communities support the dads, brothers, partners and sons in our communities carrying out this vital role.”

Over half (53%) of the male carers surveyed felt that their needs were different to those of female carers, many citing that men find it harder to ask for help and support and that balancing work and caring is challenging, particularly if they are the main earner.

The report also found that:

One quarter (26.3%) of men surveyed cared for more than 60 hours per week and worked;

Four in ten male carers said that they never had a break from their caring role;

56% of male carers aged 18-64 said being a carer had a negative impact on their mental health and 55% said their health was “fair or poor”;

Male carers not working due to their caring role, or who are unemployed felt especially isolated.

Martin Tod, Chief Executive of Men’s Health Forum said: “The UK’s 2.5 million male carers have been ignored for too long. They make a vital contribution, but face real extra health and work challenges that aren’t always properly addressed. Employers need to recognise that men can be carers too – and health and social care services needs to do more to address the physical and mental health needs of mal carers – especially the hidden carers who may not be known to the system. Both employers and health services need to do more to provide the tailored support that male carers need.