Men’s Mental Health
Men’s Mental Health is an interestingly emerging topic of discussion lately among all the psychology and mental health professionals. You might have stumbled upon the question “Why is Men’s Mental Health important?” Or simply the phrase itself. Have you ever wondered why we are suddenly focusing on Men’s Mental Health when it’s not biased towards a particular sex or age group? This is a significant matter of concern one should know and understand the answer to.
Mental Health has now become a well-known matter to most of the population. Appreciatively, people have now started talking about Men’s Mental Health more. The need for the focus on this topic stems from the stigmas or beliefs that surround men. As per reports, men are likely to not seek help for their mental health. The gender stereotype present in society makes it difficult for the male group to open up about their emotions and issues. According to Mental Health Forum, 2023, about 75% of men died by suicide. The Mental Health Foundation suggests that 1 in 8 men experience common mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, and stress. This data signifies the urgency to consider Men’s Mental Health with much more care.
Stigmas and Stereotypes
The expectations surrounding men in our society have been very rigid for a long time. Men in most of the households are supposed to be the breadwinner of the family. They are expected to have a responsible attitude towards everything. But when it comes to our responsibility to be understanding of their emotions and concerns, we tend to act indifferent. It is high time that people accept the myth of men not having emotions. Emotions are one of the components that make humans unique. It is sad but true that men have always been directed to bottle up their emotions, to not cry or they would seem weak in the eyes of others.
Think of an emotional moment or the extremities of the passing of a loved one. Have you seen a male member cry their heart out? A man expressing grief properly? Even in such adverse situations, their emotions are controlled by society. “You are a man, men don’t cry”, “crying is for the weak”. Are you familiar with such statements directed towards men? These expectations and hard-learned skills have led to men suppressing all their sorrows and grief, their problems and concerns, worsening their state of mental well-being.
Patriarchy has not only led to women suffering and struggling but also influenced the group of males. A man would often find it difficult to find comfort among others, letting others express themselves entirely. From a young age, men are taught to “tough it out” and eventually “man up” in their adulthood. They are ashamed to ask for help. Removing these stigmas and being mindful of their emotions is the first step towards working for Men’s Mental Health.
The studies and research around men regarding mental Health have been fruitful in providing data, contributing to our understanding of the ongoing issues.
- The Rakuten Insight Survey in India administered during May 2022 shows that about 38% of male responders did not work on their mental health while 53% of female interviewees were successfully working on it.
- As per the data published by the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, KIRAN, India’s National Mental Health Helpline in early 2021 reported 70% of their callers being men since its launch.
- The Suicide rate of men as per the report of 2023 is 2.5 higher than women in India.
Symptoms Common in Men
It is apparent that men are not prone to mental health problems. They suffer from a variety of disorders, too. Yet the signs and symptoms manifested among the men with the same diagnosis as women are often different. It is important to understand that in both males and females, the core symptoms of disorders remain present, the difference lies in how it gets manifested in men.
These symptoms are:
- Substance abuse to deal with the problem
- Physical symptoms such as headache or other forms of pain
- Violence is often noted among men suffering from mental health issues
- Behaviours to distract themselves such as overindulgence in work
- Aggression is a common symptom among men suffering from depression
- Feeling on edge or restless
The foremost solution for the problems presented with Men’s Mental Health is to start with talking about it openly. Here’s how you can contribute to the agenda of making Men’s Mental Health better:
- Address the mental health issues faced by men
- Spread awareness about the condition of Men’s Mental Health
- Have healthy discussions on the issues faced by men due to gender roles and societal expectations
- Appreciate men around you and be mindful of their emotions
- Encourage them to seek help
It is not easy for a generational outlet to change all of a sudden. The learning and unlearning of what has been taught require time and commitment, to change for the better. Being a responsible individual we can participate and support the initiative to help enhance the state of mental health of men in the society. To voice our support is how we can encourage the men to come up and speak. Express what they feel, and find it easy to ask for help.