Men and Their Mental Health
Anyone can experience mental health problems. However, there's stigma for men when it comes to being vulnerable. This prevents them from looking for help and treatment. Eventually, they develop mental health disorders that affect their quality of life.
Men in Mental Health
Men's mental health matters. But, the stigma surrounding men seeking mental help is rampant. What could help normalize men seeking psychological help is to talk about their mental health struggles openly. Here are details that can start conversations:
- As of 2017, Suicide rates by men are 3.54% higher than women, as reported by the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention.
- 6 million American men are affected by depression every single year, as reported by Mental Health America.
- 62,000 men die of alcohol-related causes. This is 3 times higher than women, as reported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
- Men are most likely to misuse or abuse drugs than women.
- Suicide and depression are the leading cause of death among men.
- 49% of men report feeling depressed than those around them.
The data above are the reasons why it's important to talk about men's mental health. Unfortunately, it's still a current issue the world has to overcome.
Why Is There Stigma When Men Look For Help?
Dr. Lloyd Robertson studied Canadian men who reported feelings of being stigmatized. This allowed him to write the following causes of stigma:
- People have a traditional concept of what a man 'should be'.
- Mental health decline and expressing struggle is considered a weakness in men.
- When men open up, they are subject to criticism, discrimination, and gossip.
- Legal, medical, and mental health resources for men are hard to access because there's bias within the system.
This is why men choose to deal with mental health issues silently. That shouldn't be the case.
Common Mental Health Issues Among Men
Just like women, men are also affected mentally by their experiences. If left untreated, the following are mental health issues you may experience as a man:
- Anger Issues
- Low Self-Esteem
- Sleeping Problems
- Substance Abuse
- Bipolar Disorder
- Eating Disorder
- Personality Disorders
- Relationship Issues
Substance Abuse, Depression, and Anger Issues have higher rates in men than women. This is why men are most likely to express their emotions in an aggressive, impulsive, coercive, and non-compliant way.
Showing support to yourself or for other men is important. This is the key to combat the stigma. Here's what you can do:
- Encourage seeking or starting support groups: Although men are less likely to look for support, groups are helpful to your recovery. Speaking, crying, and expressing yourself to other men is a way to normalize vulnerability.
- Take time outs: When stress is affecting you, it's important to take a time-out.
- Therapy: Being able to be aware of your reactions is key to recovery. Through therapy, you get to open up to a mental health professional. You're expressing yourself in a safe space and learning healthy ways to cope.
- Self-care: Men's mental health activities can be different than women's. However, any activity that helps you feel good or relieved is a form of self-care. Self-care is for everyone. It can be diet, sleep patterns, exercise, and activities that can unwind.
- Check-ups: Even if there's so much stigma around seeking help, it's crucial to prioritize your health than the criticisms thrown at you.
Seeking help and the right kind of mental health resources as a man doesn't make you weak. It means that you know you can't do it alone, and that makes you brave. Being vulnerable doesn't make you less of a man. It's part of being human. It is not part of a social construct, nor is it only for a specific sex.