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Men's Mental Health: Are we Overlooked?

Everybody feels down sometimes. But why do so many men have to hide their emotions?


What exactly is mental health?


Mental Health can be defined in a variety of ways, as it's such a broad aspect of our lives. However, it is most commonly associated with a person's emotional, psychological and social well being. It can also include how an individual reacts and responds to different things depending on their mental state. A person's mental health can change at any point of their life which can be caused by stress, trauma, loneliness, alcohol, drugs and plenty more factors can contribute to their mental state. Typical symptoms for poor mental health are a decrease in energy, fatigue, a difficulty in concentration, insomnia, loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed and many more. Often, people with a poor mental health state can hide behind a fake persona and can go unnoticed by even the people closest to them. It is important to treat mental health just as you would you physical health as both are just as essential to having a healthy well being.


There are plenty of ways people overcome a negative mental health state such as, therapy, opening up to friends or family, mood stabilisers and more. According to research, the best way to overcome mental health is simply talking to someone you trust. However, 1 in 8 men are estimated to have a mental health illness but do not seek help. Why is this?


Mental health in men


A statistic shows that 40% of men have never spoken to anyone regarding their mental health. In 2020, three quarters of registered suicides were male. So, if this figure is so large, why don't they find the support that they need and speak to someone?


Arguably the main reason for this is the expectations that society has for men. In today's society, men are dominantly meant to be perceived as strong, emotionless, masculine and that if you open up to someone you are automatically considered as weak. This can also be referred to as 'toxic masculinity' As a result, it deters men with poor mental health to go and find that essential support that they need, bottling up their emotions and believing they have nobody to turn too. Suffering in complete silence.


This ideology has been present in our society for generations.


This stigma MUST change.


Change


So, what are people and society doing, to spread more awareness and acceptance of men's mental wellbeing?


Through campaigns such as the 'Movember Movement' where their organisation spread awareness of the matter and create fundraising events encouraging more and more people to get involved and change the stigma.


Many workplaces have implemented mental health support where employees struggling with mental health can anonymously receive support and counselling services for free.


Male support groups where people who are all in similar situations can come together and share their stories allowing them to open up, and not feel as if they are on their own.


There are many organisations out there across the globe that specialise in helping men in a bad mental state and dedicate their time and resources to help them get past it.


On the contrary however, this is not enough. Societal values, norms and expectations need to change. If people keep pushing the stigma that sharing feelings, if you are a man makes you weak and feminine people will not go and seek for that help. We all need to move forward from past expectations and accept that everybody has feelings and everybody feels down sometimes and its okay to open up about it to someone.



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