A new national survey by Cleveland Clinic reveals that the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting both the mental and physical health of men and as a result, some men are negatively impacted while others are making healthier choices.

In an online survey among approximately 1,000 US males 18 years or older, Cleveland Clinic found that 77% of men report their stress level has increased as a result of COVID-19, 59 percent of men have felt isolated during the pandemic and nearly half (45 percent) of men say their emotional/mental health has worsened during the pandemic.

The survey was issued as part of Cleveland Clinic’s fifth annual educational campaign, “MENtion It,” which aims to address the fact that men often do not “MENtion” health issues or take steps to prevent them. This year, Cleveland Clinic set out to see what sort of effect the pandemic has had on men over the past six months and what their outlook is looking forward.

“We couldn’t take the temperature on the state of men’s health this year without focusing on the one thing that has affected every person in this country and beyond,” said Eric Klein, MD, chairman of Cleveland Clinic’s Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute. “Many men are finding themselves in new and different roles as a result of this pandemic; for example, they are out of work or are working around the clock at home looking after kids with their partners all while worrying about their family’s health and their own health. It’s no surprise that mental health rose to the top as a critical issue in this year’s survey.”

Key survey findings:

  • Men May Not Mention It, but COVID-19 is Taking a Toll on Their Mental Health
    • Three-in-five men (59%) feel COVID-19 has had a greater negative impact on their mental health than the 2008 recession.
    • 66% of men say they rarely talk about the impact COVID-19 has had on their mental health.
  • Many Men Struggle to Stay Healthy During the Pandemic
    • Half of men (48%) have put off seeing a doctor for non-COVID-19 related health issues over the last few months – this is even higher among men 18-34 (56%).
    • 40% of men say they are struggling to stay healthy during COVID-19.
    • A quarter (24%) of men report weight gain during the pandemic.
  • While Some Are Struggling, COVID-19 Has Inspired Healthier Habits in Others
    • Nearly half of men (45%) feel healthier now than before the COVID-19 outbreak.
    • Roughly one-quarter of men have started sleeping more (28%), while a fifth have been exercising more (22%) and eating healthier (19%) since the COVID-19 outbreak.
    • A quarter (23%) have been spending more time with family/friends virtually, likely as a way of coping with social distancing.
  • Men Could do More to Protect Themselves Against COVID-19
    • While the majority (70%) have been wearing face masks in public as a means of protection against COVID-19, nearly a third (30%) of men have not been.
    • Younger men 18 to 34 are less likely to avoid gathering in large groups to protect themselves against COVID-19 (51%), especially compared to older men 55 and up (67%).
  • Most Men Are Optimistic About the Future Despite COVID-19
    • While 64% don’t see an end to the COVID-19 outbreak in sight, the majority (71%) still remain optimistic about the future as the world continues to battle COVID-19, suggesting the pandemic hasn’t dampened spirits completely.

“We want to remind men that their health shouldn’t take a back seat, especially during a pandemic,” said Dr. Klein. “If you’re experiencing symptoms that indicate a real health issue, don’t be afraid to come to the hospital or schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider, either virtually or in person. Your health is too important not to.”

More information about men’s health and important preventive steps every man can take is available at www.clevelandclinic.org/MENtionIt