Mental health issues can affect anyone, and regardless of how 'perfect' someone's life seems to look like on social media, you never know what goes on behind closed doors. However, this does not only apply to women - men also experience stigma about mental health, partly because they find it harder than women to communicate about their personal issues. But why does it seem to be more challenging for men to address their own mental health?
Toxic masculinity - a burden
Typically, men have been taught from a young age to keep quiet about their emotions, and therefore avoid seeking help for their psychological issues. In comparison to women, men are far more prone to commit suicide. This disparity may be caused, in part, by internalised standards surrounding "masculine behaviour" and men's increased unwillingness to seek mental health therapy. Men may develop self-stigma as a result of internalising the social stigma associated with mental health issues. Traditional ideas of masculinity in society, for instance, may have the following effects:
- Early on, men are frequently instructed to suppress their emotions. This "standard" that society has imposed on males may cause them to feel ashamed of their feelings and discourage them from talking about them.
We are neglecting the stigma associated with mental illness, which prevents many men from seeking assistance when they most need it and is literally killing them.
The root dauses
While some men are aware of what might be upsetting them or making them angry, others might not be aware of how stress affects their physical and emotional well-being or how their environment influences their behaviour. Men may experience sadness and rage for a variety of reasons, but the following are some of the most typical ones:
- Behaviour/Lifestyle - Being overweight, struggling with addiction, and neglecting one's physical health and well-being can all contribute to depression and its accompanying symptoms, such as anger and lash outs at others. It's not always easy to see the link between lifestyle and sadness, especially if it's been present for a while.
- Life disappointments: Around midlife, a guy may be reviewing his successes and failures in both his professional and personal relationships. While these topics can be discussed from a healthy point of view, a man who is prone to depression may internalise grief over life's setbacks and feelings of loss.
Keep an eye on the symptoms
Many men, according to Levin, fall to the myth that they must be "strong enough" to handle all of their issues on their own. They fear that by seeming weak, even in the face of physical disease, they would lose their position of power. There are subtle symptoms to identify if a man is struggling mentally, but has never opened up about it.
Road range. Random outbursts. Mood swings. Men who are depressed may show more anger and violence, or they may act out in other "socially acceptable" ways to express their suffering. Instead, depressive symptoms in women may appear as evidence of poor mood, and more obvious symptoms.
Males may have physiological signs of depression such as headaches, a racing heart, or digestive problems. Men might be more inclined than females to visit their doctor for physical symptoms rather than emotional ones.
Get it off your chest
Survey's from around the world show that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Trusted Source, men account for almost 80% of all suicide deaths in the United States. Males die by suicide four times more often than females do.
It's time to turn this around! In order to treat this problem, we must spread the idea that asking for assistance—whether for oneself, a loved one, or a stranger—is ok. We can do this by spreading awareness on social media platforms, or encourage other men to share their own stories about how they recovered from being in a bad place.
According to research, those who receive therapy or medication to treat their depression or suicidal thoughts are much less likely to think about or actually try suicide - which is why it's important for everyone, especially women, to make men feel comfortable to speak their feelings and get help when they feel like they're struggling.
Suicidal ideation may occasionally be associated with financial hardship or other practical problems. Receiving financial or emotional support from others during difficult times has also been demonstrated to lessen these negative thoughts.
Fighting the ignorance towards social stigma
Fortunately, the stigma around men's mental health is starting to change, as more and more influential male figures are beginning to speak up about their struggles.
For instance, Prince Harry has garnered attention since breaking royal family traditions of stoicism. By publicly discussing his experiences recovering from trauma, experiencing panic attacks, living with substance abuse, and seeking therapy, Prince Harry has become a hero for erasing the stigma associated with men's mental health. His viewpoint is assisting in elevating the stories of men (and women) everywhere.
It's time to abandon the stereotypes that frequently hold men back from caring for their mental health. The public is becoming more aware that asking for assistance is a show of strength rather than weakness.