Mens Mental Health
Numerous researchers have recently stated that there is a silent crisis in men’s mental health. We are seeing an increase in the severity of mens mental health. This is becoming evident in higher rates of suicide and substance use and low rates of mental health use. Substance use is a predominantly male problem, occurring at a rate of 3 to 1 in comparison to females. Substance abuse is sometimes referred to as "slow-motion suicide," given that it can often end in a premature death for the person concerned.
Gender differences also play a role in the way we process emotions and verbalise these. If a man is to express distress, embarrassment, fear, guilt, love, sadness, happiness, shame, or sympathy, he is running the risk of being perceived of as atypical. I imagine this is especially the case if a man frequently expresses these emotions. Men’s mental health week is a reminder for us to focus and prioritse men’s mental health. This means partners, brothers, fathers and nephews around us may be struggling to ask for help. These are some factors that can influence why men’s mental health may not be as widely accepted.
Help-seeking avoidance. Another key challenge to acceptance involves men’s socialization to avoid help. Seeking help through professional means or peer support can foster acknowledgement and understanding of a mental health problem.
Emotional suppression. Painful feelings might be funneled through anger, rather than manifesting as sadness or loss. Alternatively, the conditioning to repress emotions can be surmounted through accepting and expressing feelings, supporting acceptance of the mental health problem through which these emotions may take shape
Substance use. What happens when emotional expression is constrained? Substance abuse can become a way to numb the pain.
In our current society, mental health is becoming more widely acknowledged and normalised. There is still further work to be done in the space of men’s mental health, although it has improved. Historically, the idea of men sharing emotions was discouraged. What we can do about this is support those who around us with encouragement when they become vulnerable enough to share. I’m interested in your thoughts on this, has you found anything to be helpful when you have had to disclose difficult things?