Based on a survey regarding how men see mental health, 77% of them had experienced mental issues like depression and anxiety. Among the biggest factors that contributed to these problems were their work, current financial standing, as well as their health. Most men claimed that their current mental state has already affected their ability to raise their children, their relationships, and even their performance at work. The question now is, why is men’s mental health important?
Why Men’s Mental Health Is Not Being Discussed
In first-world countries, more men are committing suicide compared to women based on a report delivered by WHO in 2018. Other studies showed that more than 6 million men in the US suffered some form of depression annually with at least 3 million experiencing anxiety attacks. Yet, despite these numbers, men haven’t been receiving much mental health support compared to women.
There are a few reasons why men’s mental health awareness is not as widespread as those in women. Here are some worth mentioning:
Ongoing Stigma on Mental Health
According to WHO, there is a stigma associated with mental health which prevents men from opening with regards to their mental state. Media outlets have already branded men’s mental health as a silent epidemic that comes with devastating statistics and that it needs to be given the right attention.
Additionally, old world views regarding genders may have also contributed to why men have developed mental issues, and one of the reasons why they do not seek medical help. Furthermore, men who had experienced suicidal tendencies or depression were less likely to get treatment for their condition because of embarrassment.
Varying Symptoms in Men
Experts have pointed out that the effects of men’s mental health are quite different from what women are experiencing. Men tend to hide their depressive state by being irritable or aggressive at times, while women show signs of sadness.
However, men can also exhibit other symptoms of depression, such as digestive problems, fast heart rate, and even headaches. Only when these symptoms appear are men willing to visit the doctor for a checkup.
Further studies showed that men tend to self-medicate during their depressive state which can further worsen their condition and leave them at more risk additional health problems.
What Steps Can Be Done to Promote Men’s Mental Health Awareness?
Mental health is a real problem and it affects both men and women. However, with men not being comfortable having to talk to a professional regarding their mental state, they are more at risk of suffering from these issues in the long run. That said, there are ways on how to increase awareness of how mental issues are affecting men. Among these are:
Educating People On Mental Health
One of the best ways for mental health to be addressed is by educating people about it. Researchers want to focus on disrupting the way the male population sees depression as well as suicide, by removing the stigma that is linked to mental illness. Their goal is to help men realize that addressing their mental problems isn’t a sign of weakness but rather an important stage to improve their overall health.
Mental Health Programs in Communities
Another step is to have mental health programs within communities where men can go to if they need someone to assist them in their current condition. These programs in the community can help reduce the feeling of isolation and even become platforms for men to share their feelings. Talking about their current state may ease the burden that they are facing since others can relate to them.
Online Support Groups
For men seeking help with their mental health and are not comfortable with talking directly to therapists, having online support groups can be a great way to have someone to talk to. This is particularly useful nowadays when many places are asked to shelter in place amidst the ongoing pandemic. Through social media platforms, men can connect with others who have gone through the same issues so they can learn what steps they can take to help them regain control over their mental state.
Why is Men’s Mental Health Important?
In our society, men are having trouble expressing the mental struggle that they are facing. The fact is, men are more likely to talk to their spouses about their current state, rather than making an appointment with a mental health expert. For most guys, talking to a psychiatrist is intimidating and scary at times.
Fortunately, times are changing as interest in men’s mental health is growing. This is because famous people have started to open about their experiences regarding mental issues thus gaining attention across the globe. Hearing what men think about mental health and how they handle it is changing the course of the discussion.
For starters, men who grew up in households where they were told to be strong are more likely to be hesitant to talk about their feelings and mental state. This kind of culture is starting to change nowadays which is a huge improvement.
Although some men know that they need help, they are not sure where to begin because they feel embarrassed about it. Mental health experts are acknowledging this and are seeking other means to encourage men to talk to a specialist as soon as they are able to help address any issues that they may be having.
Seeking help for mental problems doesn’t always come in the form of a psychiatrist because there are other avenues available. It is important for men to know that there is nothing wrong with asking for help as opposed to keeping things locked up inside. Unburdening to someone can offer some relief in a person’s mental state, especially when they are listened to, something that most guys worry about.
Once that men start talking about their mental state, the feeling of being released from a burden is immediate, knowing that someone understands what they are going through. This knowledge may help them take one step closer to getting the professional help they need because they have the support of friends and family.