It’s mental health month, and you are more likely to be bombarded with social media posts and conversations on men’s mental health around this time of the year. But once this month passes, everyone will soon forget about this topic and move on with their lives.
Of course, things have changed, and over the years, mental health conversations have become more normalized and acceptable. But something as important as men’s mental health is still very much in the dark.
The stigma is real, and men are often said to “man up” and put up a brave front despite needing immediate emotional help and support.
Have you noticed that you can find more women talking about their mental health than men? Why is it so? Do women only go through psychological issues and not men? Absolutely not!
But, at least, that’s what has not been shown adequately in the media and other powerful public platforms so far!
Anyway, the studies and research that have been done over the years prove how men’s mental health numbers are constantly on the rise.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), men are four times more likely to die by suicide than women.
Also, following the World Health Organization, men are twice as likely to die by suicide than females, and high-income countries shockingly have the highest suicide rates among men.
Besides, according to a survey by the CDC, males only make up 50% of the population in the United States, but make up 80% of all the suicide cases in the country.
On top of that, following studies, mental health conditions impact different genders quite “differently”, and the symptoms might not always be the same.
The numbers are staggering and should evoke concerns in our minds if they haven’t already. Why do men find it so hard to reach out for help or at least talk about their feelings and thoughts in the open?
Well, there’s a whole societal construct behind this. Let’s talk about men’s mental health stigma and how we, as a society, can overcome it in today’s article!
Why Are Men’s Mental Health Issues Not Talked About Much?
In many parts of the world, men are often told to hide their feelings and emotions since childhood. Be a man! Men don’t cry like girls! These are some of the common remarks thrown at males very early in their lives.
That forces them not only to learn to bottle up their weaknesses and vulnerabilities but also to cope with them in very unhealthy ways.
According to research, men are more likely to develop substance abuse issues like alcoholism, coping with their mental health challenges in an unhealthy and self-destructive manner.
In our society, men also often have to take up the role of breadwinner, putting immense pressure and stress on them.
And, women are only supposed to be at home and look after kids; managing household chores has been the norm for ages.
No doubt, things like this are changing, and women are also taking up the role of breadwinner, sharing equal financial burdens in families.
But, still, it’s a long fight and a long read for us to achieve equality amongst genders in various different ways.
So, men go through a lot of stressors and pressures while being silent all their lives, which impacts their mental health badly.
How To Improve Men’s Mental Health
So, how can one change the immense stigma around men’s mental health? Here are some of the considerable ways to move the needle, creating a better emotional and psychological support system for males.
Normalize Crying For Men’s Mental Health-
It might sound like a very basic thing, but it’s a big one right here. Crying is often seen as a sign of weakness, especially for men. In fact, men are told not to cry like girls. The underlining message of this statement is to say that if you cry being a man, you are less likely to be one. It’s wrong on so many levels. This should be stopped right now. It makes our boys feel less adequate, and more than anything, less human.
Crying is one of the most natural and healthiest mechanisms of the human body, releasing feel-good hormones. It is not only good for your body but also for your mental health, allowing you to express your emotions without any shame (#menalsocry).
Share Pressure and Responsibility-
If you are living in a Tier-1 city, it might be very normal for you to see working women around you all the time. But it’s not the same in the rest of the country. In rural areas of our country, it is still taboo for a woman to be well-educated and ambitious, trying to be financially as well as emotionally independent.
They are only supposed to be good at cooking and managing kids. That’s it. The rest of the pressure is always supposed to be managed by their husbands, fathers, or brothers. And that’s where the pressure kicks in for men to be the sole breadwinner. Imagine if couples could always share the financial burden and live a life of equality. It’s high time it should get normalized, taking some stressors off men’s shoulders.
Normalize Therapy and Counseling For Men-
Following many studies, it has come to light that men feel more reluctant to seek help and visit a professional. On the other side, these numbers are not so bad for women. That’s why it is significant that there should be crusades held for mental health awareness for men on a large scale, motivating them to seek emotional help and professional support.
Males Friendships Should Be Redefined-
If you are a man and you have friends, you can answer this better than anybody else. Of course, things like these can’t be generalized. But there are studies that show how men don’t share feelings and emotions with their buddies and only keep the conversation very superficial.
On the other side, women are more open with their girlfriends, sharing each and every beat of their lives authentically and vulnerably. So, if you are a man dealing with this, redefining your friendship’s goals and objectives should be your priority now. Make deeper relationships and talk about your weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Go deeper, cry, and smile together!
Wrapping Up This Here!
Men have to deal with a lot of incorrect information and conditioning while growing up. They are often taught to not show their weaker points and always put on a brave face.
However, if you are a man in your late 30s, 40s, or even 80s, knowing that you can still undo your unhealthy behaviors and learned patterns is enough to make a solid change in your life right now.
You are allowed to feel weak; you are allowed to feel wobbly on your feet; and you are definitely allowed to cry like any other human. These are your superpowers, not weaknesses! Please always remember:)
Disclaimer: This content is not an alternative to professional mental help support. Thank you.
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