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The Stigma Around Men's Mental Health

Why men find it hard to open up about their mental health


Sadly, suicide and depression are one of the leading causes of death among men. However, men are less likely to seek help for their mental health issues compared to women. According to research, almost 1 in 10 men suffer with anxiety or depression, yet less than half will seek treatment. As well as this, symptoms of depression can come across differently in men. For instance, being angry and irritable. Because of this, it can be difficult for people to recognise the reason behind their behaviour, and even harder for those around you to notice it.


There are several factors which have led to the negative stigma around men's mental health. One major reason for this is because men do not want to appear as 'weak'. This stems from the traditional gender roles which society have created over time. Men are often told that they need to be 'strong' which causes them to hide their emotions and stops them from asking for help. This is also a result of the idea of masculinity which restricts a lot of men from talking about their feelings, opening up to people, and expressing certain emotions. Some might even say that expressing your emotions is 'feminine'. In addition, a lot of cultures share similar beliefs when it comes to men and being strong. This is due to the idea of men being the provider, which puts a lot of pressure on them. This discourages men from admitting when they are struggling. Although, this will only lead to their condition becoming a lot worse.


Another issue is that there is a stigma surrounding mental health itself. People with mental illnesses have been made to feel less than others, and may even be described as dangerous. This leads to a fear within some people as they don't want to be treated differently and would rather hide what they are going through. Many people will ignore their symptoms because of this.


Reducing the stigma


In order to overcome the stigma that surrounds mental health and men, we need to talk about it more openly as a society. A good way to do this is through social media. This is one way that we can improve the awareness and understanding of the importance of men's mental health. In addition to this, educating both yourself and others. It is essential that we educate those with negative perceptions of men who struggle with their mental health to in order to fight the stigma and challenge stereotypes. It could be useful to bring mental health education into schools, colleges, universities, and also workplaces to improve overall understanding which in turn will help to reduce the stigma with men and their mental health.


Furthermore, we need to work on building equality between physical and mental illness. We should be treating people with the same level of compassion no matter the type of illness they are dealing with. Finally, to reduce this stigma, it is crucial to be very careful with the language that we use. One common problem is that people use mental health problems as an adjective, or use discriminatory terms which is problematic. Also, ensure to remind those around you that language matters. Moreover, it is crucial that we begin to get rid of this belief that only women deal with mental health issues and not men.


How to help those who are struggling


When it comes to mental health, support matters and can go a long way for people who are struggling. One way to help someone close to you who is struggling is by reassuring them, and letting them know you are there to support them. Offering the time to listen to them and allow them to open up may bring them comfort. Especially for men who, as mentioned earlier, are less likely to speak on this. Try not to be non-judgemental and offer helpful advice if possible. It is important to remain patient and calm with them. Ask them how you could potentially help them as everyone is different and might want support in different ways. If necessary, you can encourage them to seek professional support and aid them in doing so. However, you shouldn't be forceful with this as it can be difficult and take time. Besides this, you could help to support causes for mental health in order to make a bigger impact, not just with those you know, but people struggling all over the world. There are a number of campaigns, charities, fundraisers, etc which are available. In the UK, the largest charity for mental health is Mind. Mind offers advice for those in need and provides awareness for mental health.


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