The Stigma Around Men’s Mental Health
There is a lot of stigma surrounding the mental health of men, there are many reasons for this stigma. One of these reasons is because there is this idea of men being macho and not showing feelings or being vulnerable. This idea of the macho man makes men feel that they should bottle up their feelings. Keeping their feelings in can cause physical stress on the body this stress on the body can increase the likeliness of heart disease or diabetes. Having social relationships which are healthy is a an essential part of maintaining our mental wellbeing.
Another reason for the stigma around this is that there are a lot of people who view mental health as a personal issue or lack of courage within oneself. This can lead to people having a fear of sharing their mental struggles as they believe people will judge them for it. This again leads to them to holding them all in and trying to deal with their struggles on their own and this then it builds up and gets too much for the individual. This can be really damaging to a person as it could lead to some horrible end results if the mental health becomes too much to deal with as it could lead to a nervous breakdown or suicide. It has been shown in studies that the suicide rates for men are higher than women’s rates. Not all of them are related to the ignorance for mental health but I’m sure that a good few of them are.
Toxic masculinity has a large role to play as there is a lot to be said for the way that men are brought up as there is the idea that men should be quiet and strong. The way that they have been brought up is dysfunctional in many ways as it leads to them not feeling like they can speak up and share their struggles as people will say that as a man they should just deal with it and get through it. There is the fear from men that if they cannot deal with their problems on their own that they could lose their authority over others, as there is the idea that men will automatically have authority just because they are men.
Reducing the stigma
There are many ways for the community and society to reduce and potentially eliminate the stigma which surrounds the mental health of men. One of the ways that the stigma can be reduced is for everyone to gain transparency around the idea of mental health and accept that everyone will experience stress and that no one is immune to the feelings of mental ill wellbeing. Having this acceptance for mental struggles will give those who suffer from it the courage to speak out and get help.
Another way for the stigma of mental health to be reduced is through there being more of a conversation around mental health as this can help to make the topic less of a big deal and make it seem like a more common situation for the population to deal with. This can show people that speaking out and seeking help is not a scary thing and can be beneficial for them. As well having more of a conversation around the topic of mental health there should be more availability for people to access help as there are some people who are not able to afford therapy. Having this accessibility to help will give more people the help that they need. For men especially having more conversation will help them to see that being vulnerable does not take away from them as a person.
When is the right time to speak out?
There are many times and signals that can help someone who is struggling with mental health to speak out as they may not be able to fix their ill wellbeing by themselves. Changes in their mood or weight as well as a change in their performance at work can be signals that people should speak out or seek help. These changes may not necessarily mean that their struggles are getting out of control but could mean that they are getting worse which could lead to damaging effects on the body of the individual. It is always better to seek help and share your struggles as this will help you to better yourself and get through your struggles.