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Report on the mental health of young men in the Nordic countries

Boy with a tablet in a dark room. Photo: Nick Fancher

New Nordic report highlights young men’s mental ill-health encompassing education, the workplace and the pandemic.

Mental ill-health is a significant social and public health problem in the Nordic countries. Multiple studies also show that mental health problems have increased in the Nordic countries in recent years, particularly among young people. Studies show that there are also gender differences when it comes to mental ill-health and that gender, sexuality and masculinity norms play an important role in how young men manage and experience their mental health.

A new research overview from NIKK, Nordic Information on Gender, focuses in particular on knowledge about young men’s mental health in relation to current conditions and challenges in education and training and the workplace in the Nordic countries. The study also highlights knowledge about the impacts of the pandemic on young men’s mental health, where increased unemployment, distance teaching and isolation have risked reinforcing negative spirals in mental well-being.

Elin Engström, Director of NIKK, believes that the results help to highlight the relationship between mental health, education and working life:

Schools and workplaces are important places where young men can come into contact with health promotion and support, and they can provide a sense of belonging. At the same time, the review shows that much of the mental ill health can be rooted in poor experiences of the education system and poor working environment. It is important that we look at the types of norms and beliefs that are reproduced in our Nordic educational institutions and workplaces and provide personalised support to those who need it.

The study also highlights the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for young men’s mental health, as increased unemployment, distance learning and isolation have risked reinforcing a negative development of mental health.

Updated 22 November 2023