Culturally, society has created the stereotype that mental illness is a quality of the feeble-minded, especially among men. It is still very difficult to shake these distorted and deeply ingrained views, despite the fact that depression is related to chemical changes in the brain and consequently to physical changes in the body. However, because mental health is so crucial to the entire wellness of our bodies, getting professional help is crucial.
Men are expected to “be strong,” which leaves no place for healthy emotional expression and might result in bad outlets like heightened rage. It’s time for society to accept that guys are not a rock-solid barrier immune to life’s challenges. It is clear that men require assistance in order to unload, express, and understand all the challenging emotions society instructs them to suppress and keep to themselves.
The Consequences Of Mental Health Stigma On Men
Struggling To Express Their Emotions
Boys may experience rejection or discouragement for expressing strong feelings starting at a young age, especially if they are experiencing depression, anxiety, or stress. Men who express fear or extreme melancholy may face mockery or disdain, even as adults. Men may therefore strive to suppress these unfavourable feelings and refrain from talking about them with others.
Mental Health Conditions Go Under The Radar
Men are more inclined to minimise their feelings or fail to recognize negative emotions as signs of mental disorders. Men may not identify repressed anger, irritability, boredom, impulsivity, insomnia, or weariness as indicators (of mental health conditions) because they may not equate feelings of grief or loneliness with poor mental health.
Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms
Men frequently try to deal with unpleasant feelings by compartmentalising them or running away from them. They might engage in sexual activity, dangerous hobbies, competitive sports, or other activities that release dopamine and serve as a diversion from their emotions. Some of these diversionary activities can be hazardous and result in addictive behaviours or make men disregard other, more demanding aspects of their lives (such as “healing” from a tumultuous relationship).
Lack Of Awareness Of Negative Emotions And Problematic Behaviours
Whether they are working on a project or experiencing mental health issues, guys tend to put off receiving help. Men frequently experience a tremendous sense of pride and satisfaction when they solve a problem on their own. If a man battles with a bad habit or addiction, he might believe that he can just muster the determination to change and that he can get over it. Admitting they need assistance could imply that they are not “strong enough” to complete the task on their own which is why they would much rather not seek help.
Ending The Mental Health Stigma
Sometimes it may seem impossible to overcome the stigma associated with mental disorders. So what can we do to urge men to adopt a different perspective on their emotions and mental health and persuade an entire culture to change the way it views masculinity?
Here are a few examples of how to de-stigmatize seeking therapy and start a discussion about men’s mental health:
- Normalise It: Everyone experiences difficult times. Everyone has moments of poor mental health. And a huge number of people experience major mental health problems. Men have to understand that experiencing mental health issues is a natural part of being human, and we must normalise seeking treatment.
- Share Your Story: If you are a man who has battled with your mental health, are currently receiving therapy, or has benefited from therapy, you should tell others about it, especially your close friends. Initially, it could feel terrifying or awkward to talk about your troubles, but by doing so, you emphasise that mental health problems are common and that there are experts available to help.
- Educate Others: People should be educated since doing so will enable them to better understand their own mental health, recognize signs, and appreciate the advantages of seeking help. This includes educating men on the distinct ways that men may present with mental health problems and teaching them how to spot the symptoms in both themselves as well as others.
Whether you are a parent, family member, teacher, or mentor, consider how your interactions with the boys, teenagers, and young men in your life can shape the following generations. Men should be encouraged from an early age to communicate and discuss their feelings, including crying. Additionally, they should also be shown how to seek assistance when feeling down. Introduce your child to a therapist from a young age and make them feel at ease receiving this kind of therapy if they are having trouble managing their emotions or displaying symptoms of mental disorders.
Keep in mind: It’s okay to not be okay!