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Men's mental health
"Men don't cry", "Man up" are two sayings among many stereotypes that tell society that men's mental health is of less importance, and they shouldn't be sad. Because of these stereotypes, they are made to think they can't talk about their emotions, and therefore they end up bottling up and trying to continue their everyday lives, without letting any of their sadness out. This can be destructive to their mental health, and often they never get it seen to, and can let it get the better of them.
Men's mental health statistics
Samaritans has collected data that links to suicide and mental health. They found that in 2021, 5219 suicides were registered, and the male suicide rate was 15.8 per 100,000, which was significantly higher than the female's suicide rate of 5.5 per 100,000. They also stated that the group with the highest suicide rate was 50-54 year old males. This could because men of this age, are meant to be seen as in control of their life, responsible, and be strong. These stereotypes are what are causing the rates to be so high, as they don't know who to turn to, and if they even can turn to anyone without being looked down on. They don't want to feel ashamed or weak, so would rather keep it in.
A mental health organisation called Jami did some research relating to the stigma that surrounds mental health, and how important it is. They were told by men that "it's not mental illness that kills, it's the stigma associated with it". People's problems are worsened by stigma and discrimination, and they make normal parts of life harder, because people have so many expectations of people, particularly middle aged men.
A middle aged, upper class man, in a happy relationship, with a loving family, working in a stable job and making good money, what could be the problem? Surely he has no reason to be unhappy? He has the ideal life. Just because everything seems to be going well for him on paper, doesn't mean that behind closed doors he isn't struggling. The fact that things appear to look so good to everyone around him could be one of the main factors stopping him from telling what he really feels like, as people might think that because he has life so good, he doesn't deserve to feel how he does, or he is pathetic for doing so. Say he's at work, in an office that is predominately male staff, there is always going to be a lot of 'lad banter', which when in a good mental state could be fine, but for someone that's struggling, it could just knock them even more. As you can imagine, there is likely to be some alpha male characters wherever you work, these sort of people may make you feel bad for needing some time off for mental health. But at the same time, they could be the same people struggling, but they just feel like they need to constantly put on a front, to keep up a certain persona.
As a society, we are getting a bit better at recognising that men's mental health is important, but there still isn't enough encouragement and support in place for them to speak out. They may think that the help that is offered should be going to children and women before them, as they shouldn't be feeling how they do. But, this isn't the case at all. More and more people are becoming aware that it is so important to check up on those around us, in particular men, but often it isn't until something awful happens to someone they know, or a friend of a friend. It really shouldn't take this to make people aware of how other's may feel, and there should be more things in place to offer support and encourage talking about how you feel.
Workplaces could make sure they offer mental health support, and maybe one-to-ones every so often, checking up on each member of staff, and making sure they really are okay. They could have a mental health professional come in and talk to people, and have signs around the office with people they can contact if they need to let it out. Even just knowing that their feelings matter, and that there is support available to them should they need it, could have a huge positive impact on someone, and stop something disastrous happening.