Mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social well-being. Mental health can affect everyone, but due to the associated stigma and discrimination towards this topic, this often stops people from seeking the help they need. Since men's mental health has long been neglected, many men struggle to access the adequate medication and support for their mental health issues. Despite efforts of trying to increase the awareness towards men's mental health, there is still a lack of understanding and attention towards this topic. In this article, I will be exploring why ignorance towards men's mental health still exists and how to tackle this issue.
The collective pressure on men
One of the main reasons why there is still ignorance towards men's mental health is due to traditional gender roles and stereotypes. Men are often expected to be tough, strong, and unemotional, which can discourage them from seeking help for mental health issues, additionally societal gender roles can dictate that when men express emotion, they are not 'real men'. This stigma can therefore cause men to suppress their emotions in order to look 'manly' and 'strong'. Men who don't conform to these expectations or who struggle with mental health issues may feel that they are failing to meet these collective standards, which could therefore lead to feelings of shame, guilt, and isolation. Also resulting in many men being perceived as less vulnerable to mental health problems, leading to a lack of attention paid to their mental health concerns. I believe that there is a stigma that women are more likely to have mental health issues than men which could lead to men being overlooked displaying a lack of awareness for men's mental health.
Did you know? according to statista, in 2021 the rate of suicides among males was 16 per 100,000 population and among females it was 5.4 per 100,000. Furthermore, I believe the lack of education towards men's mental health is an issue since resources and mental health education aren't adapted towards men, meaning there is a decrease in engagement with mental health.
The way forward
I believe addressing the ignorance towards men's mental health will require a combined effort from healthcare providers, individuals and society as a whole. This could start by reducing the collective pressure including the stigma and gender expectations on men, by showing that having mental health issues doesn't mean they are a weak or a less of person. Additionally, it could be argued that there should be an increase in professional talks at both schools and universities educating all students and teacher's on the topic of men's mental health, which would make them have a better understanding on how to deal with mental health issues and understand who is the best person to go to. On top of that, mental health professionals can undergo specialized training to better understand the needs of men with mental health conditions and provide gender-sensitive support.
In conclusion, in today's society there is still a great deal of neglect and ignorance towards men's mental health which is stemmed from stigma, and the lack of awareness and education, which can have an impact on individuals and society as a whole.Ultimately, creating a more supportive and inclusive environment for mental health can have a positive impact on individuals, families, and communities, which would result in the decrease in ignorance towards men's mental health.