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Why is There Still Ignorance Towards Men's Mental Health?

Men's mental health is often overlooked. This is mainly caused by the stigma that comes with men's mental health such as the social stigma and social norms. These stigmas and the fact that people often forget the fact men struggle too, makes it difficult for men to get the help they need.

Social stigma

Social stigmas often refer to society's negative attitudes towards groups experiencing mental health. For example, one of the main stigmas within society towards men who face mental health issues is that they are 'weak'. These attitudes towards men's health can lead them to avoid talking about their mental health and getting help which in turn, can make their mental health worse.

If the attitude by society is that men are weak for having issues with their mental health, then men are likely to not want to talk about it as they will not want their peers to perceive them as weak or even believe that they are unable to handle the daily stresses that they face.

It is known that men also often compare their successes and failures with other men such as their friends, family and co-workers. Due to this, they may not want to express their emotions for fear of seeming inferior to their peers.

From a young age, boys are taught to not cry and not show their emotions- with a common phrase taught to young boys being to "man up". This may make men feel shameful when expressing how they feel as it was instilled into them from a young age to not do that. This is very harmful especially for young boys, as it allows them to grow up by burying their emotions and learning to not talk about them to people. One way in which the stigma can be broken is by removing toxic phrases and by teaching young boys that showing and speaking about your emotions is a good thing to do as everyone has emotions and everyone often needs to let them out.

Toxic masculinity

Toxic masculinity often comes from teaching boys that they can't be open with their emotions. It instils into boys and men that they have to be 'tough' all the time and if they are not, they are 'feminine' and weak.

There are many traits that come with toxic masculinity including physical toughness, aggressiveness, self-sufficiency and emotional insensitivity. Traits such as emotional insensitivity can often stop some men from being able to make meaningful apologies etc which arguably, are skills that everyone needs in order to form healthy relationships with friends, family and partners. Therefore, toxic masculinity can be a burden on men as not only can they not express their emotions if their mental health is deteriorating, but it can also make it worse by not allowing them to form close bonds.

Toxic masculinity may be a reason why men are more likely to downplay their symptoms of depression. It can also contribute to increasing rates of depression.

Why mental health in men often goes undiagnosed

Men often downplay the signs and symptoms of mental health issues. Often, men do not want to admit to themselves or anyone else if they are struggling with mental health. This can only help to worsen their mental health and negative emotions as they suppress their emotions with unhealthy behaviour. This makes it difficult for men to be diagnosed with mental health issues are nobody knows they are suffering and therefore, cannot help them.

It is common for men to resist mental health treatment. Even if they suspect that they have a mental health issue such as depression, there is often a high chance of them avoiding a diagnosis or refusing treatment. This can be due to worry about the stigma and worry that this may damage their career or cause peers to lose respect for them.

Reducing the stigma

One way to reduce the stigma is by addressing it. Helping men to work past the false ideas that have been installed into them that they need to be tough and can't show their emotions is a step towards them being able to finally talk about their emotions and get the help they need. Awareness and education play a big role in helping people as early as possible. Leaving your mental health untreated, it will only worsen with time. The sooner it is talked about and treated, the better it will be.


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