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'Be a Man!'

We cannot keep dismissing Men's Mental Health.

When we talk about mental health and our struggles it’s usually brushed over to avoid the uncomfortable conversation about how you’re not actually okay and you don’t know if you will be but yeah I’m okay thank you. Each and every one of us has a battle with mental health no matter how acute it may be. In today’s society, however, men are still fighting to be heard. To ensure that no one still thinks it’s okay to say be a man or that men are not allowed to cry. Most of the scrutiny is from the same sex. Men have this false ideology that they must be tough and therefore look down on those who are not, labelling them as weak and pathetic. But this isn’t the case.

Why do we think like this?

For years this false way of thinking has been wired into all of our heads. The films we enjoyed as children have the big strong man saving the damsel in distress. Setting unattainable goals for the young boys watching. Our social norms and perceptions have these ideas programmed into our heads. Perceptions are hard to change which is why it will take profound action. Today boys aren’t as exposed to this idea and are supported more than ever, being taught the importance of understanding and processing emotions.

TV and film isn’t the only media outlet that sets unattainable goals for men. Social media commonly posts and exposes these perfect men, leaving the average man comparing themselves to these models. We talk about this profusely with women and have even acted on this to include more realistic body types in media. But men haven’t had the same treatment, which undoubtedly will take a toll on their mental health only they feel as though they cannot express these emotions.

Home life

Sometimes we may be blinded to those that struggle with mental health. Living with my brother has enlightened me about how extreme and fast pain can happen. Mental health doesn’t always need a trigger. One minute you can be the happiest person in the world and the next you can feel like nothing will ever get better and you are engulfed in pain. My household consists of myself, my mum and my brother. With my brother being the only ‘man of the house’ he’s often confided in me about the pressure he feels to be strong and tough. To only be a shoulder to cry on, but where is his shoulder to cry on if that is the case? I have seen this pressure break him, break him into hospitals and emergency rooms, with his life on the line. He felt he couldn’t speak to us out of fear of us finding him weak. He hates the fact he has mental health problems for the same reason and each day I wish I could take them from him.

I can only imagine the vast amount of people that experience the same thing if not worse with the men in their life. It’s important to know that you aren’t alone and you can support them even if you feel it’s something small. The stereotype needs breaking, society cannot be so ignorant to ignore the prominence of the situation.

Globally on average, 1 man dies by suicide every minute of every day.

So what are we doing to fix it?

The current movement

Some charities and organisations have already attempted to raise awareness and show support for men’s mental health. One of the largest is Movember which involves men not shaving for the whole month of November as an attempt to raise awareness and collect donations for men’s mental health. This is an extremely successful charity and you can read more about it here

There are countless websites and articles about men’s mental health that give advice and act as a brick in the build towards a more inclusive future where men can feel heard and know that they are not expected to be tough.

The phrase…

Men can cry too.

Will have been heard by the large majority of people and should continue to be spread further.

This blog’s intention was in no way to belittle women’s mental health as this is an extensive struggle for a lot of people. This blog’s aim was to shine a light on men’s mental health and to share a personal light that could help someone.

Mental health isn’t going to go away overnight it’s a constant battle. There will always be light at the end of the tunnel. You never know how confiding in someone will make you feel.

If you feel as though you are struggling please use the helplines below for constant support

Samaritans – 116 123 or text SHOUT to 85258


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