When people hear the term ”health“ they generally think of more physical qualities such as good diets, a good weight or having plenty of exercise. However, there is an equally important component to health that is commonly overlooked. Mental health is a term to describe ones social, emotional and phycological well being. The first definition was coined by Issac Ray in 1893 describing it as ”the art of preserving the mind against all incidents and influences calculated to deteriorate its qualities, impair its energies, or derange its movements.” This was the first definition ever given and it was still years before the medical industry took mental health seriously despite records of doctors and practitioners of physical health being around for hundreds of years. It was not until 1959 that parliament declared the mental health Act. This act (made after the NHS was running for over a decade) made hospital entries based on medical terms rather than Legal terms and attempted to integrate mental health care with the wider NHS service.
Mental health journey for men
Men are less likely than women to be diagnosed with the most common mental health disorders (those being anxiety, depression, OCD etc,) and those men who are diagnosed are less likely to seek help for their disorders Yet four times as many men die from suicide than women.why is this the case?Why are men not only not getting the help and diagnosis they desperately need but why are they given less help than women If the diagnosis and help is to be given By medical professionals? society has painted a picture that men have to be strong and that men ’don’t cry“. Terms like be a man being used when men show insecurity or show any kind of emotion has gone a long way to damage the mental health amongst men and made it harder for men to seek the help they may need. By not being able to speak about their mental health to other men because of the fear of being ridiculed and not being able to speak to women on the fear of being seen as A lesser man. many men manifest their symptoms of loneliness, anxiety, depression etc in other forms such as aggression or violence or overthinking or substance abuse.
Over time the gender norms and expectations were slowly being broken down by communities like the LGBT community which had a big focus on being yourself regardless of how society wants to place you. this message of acceptance was one that opened many dialogues between people and helped to shift the previously enforced norms and barriers that men and women faced. Even with the new open dialogues and new perspectives being had by many people, there were still competing factors that sought to maintain the status quo and reinforce the notion that men shouldn’t be emotional. This opposing and outdated ideology was headed by people such as Andrew Tate who believed that men should be “alphas” and should be masculine and emotionally absent and if they weren’t he sought to reticule and demean them. With this ideology Tate grew a very large following and even had said followers to echo his message on their social media to aid in the preservation of the rigid expectations for men.with this many men felt immense pressure to conform with tates believes as they didn’t want to be shunned by their friends and be considered feminine, this did a great deal to hurt the progression made in allowing men to become more emotionally vulnerable.
How can we help?
To put it simply There is no quick solution to help shift the narrative many people have on the mental health of men however a good start would be in more smaller enclosed environments such as in a home setting or a friend group. as a single individual it would be unfair to place the diagnosis and treatment of a loved ones mental state on you however by lending a sympathetic and non judgmental ear to them it would have huge positive effects on that person as they will be able to see that they are in a safe place and maybe will gain the courage to seek professional help if that’s what they need. On a bigger scale we as a society we need to Strip down the Barriers between gender and health and provide a safe space for anyone of any age, gender or race to seek the help they need wether mental physical or anything else without feeling scared or less than.With social media playing a big role in how society decides what is acceptable and what isn’t and with popular figures fighting both for and against emotional vulnerability it is understandable why men feel so conflicted and why men do not seek help for their mental health however, without love and support both from their friends and family and from society we will continue to see men suffer at the hands of mental health.