Why is talking about men’s mental health important?
As a society, we have to normalize conversations regarding men’s mental health. Our society hasn’t addressed this issue sufficiently yet. Men, from all around the globe are suffering from mental illnesses and nobody seems to care about it. The mental health of men is contemplated to be taboo in society. This is why cases of mental illnesses in men are increasing day by day. We should hold ourselves responsible to make the treatment accessible to men. We should normalize talking about it in public and seeking help. It is okay for men to cry, it is okay for men to break down, it is okay for men to be emotionally sensitive. No judgments should be passed regarding a man’s mental health. Just because he is a man does not make him emotionless or somebody who cannot catch mental illnesses. Men often make the mistake of bottling up their thoughts and emotions inside them, which becomes the root cause of many different types of mental illnesses.
There have been several kinds of research conducted in this field and it has been noticed that men find it extremely difficult and uncomfortable in opening up about their mental condition. There are more cases of suicides in men as compared to women. We should stop stigmatizing men’s mental health. We do not dictate what men are supposed to feel and how they are supposed to react if they are going through something in their life.
There are chances that men may have different mental health symptoms:
The mental illness symptoms do not generally vary based on gender. However, there are chances that men may face slightly different kinds of symptoms when it comes to their mental health. Some of the distinct symptoms related to mental health in men are as follows:
Low sex drive
To hide their mental health condition and act strong, men often take the help of alcohol and other drugs which may result in extreme substance abuse and self-medication. Men are more prone to heart attacks because of the amount of stress they carry around inside of them every day.
How to nurture good mental health in men?
Decrease the amount of pressure on men- Men are surrounded with a lot of pressure from the very beginning of their career and it keeps increasing with time and as they enter different stages in their life. In college, men are pressured to make a good career so that they can score a good job. When working, men are pressured to become financially stable so that they can make a family. All kinds of financial, marital, family, and peer pressure must be decreased so that men feel free and develop fewer mental health problems due to extreme stress.
Provide a comfortable zone to talk- Since childhood, men are taught to ‘man-up’ and they are told that guys don’t cry. Because of this, men don’t feel comfortable in sharing their problems and emotions with anyone due to the fear of being judged or called ‘weak’. They are told that crying is not a masculine thing to do. This can turn out to be extremely toxic and cause several mental health issues.
Discuss their problems- Normalize talking about the mental health of men. Don’t stigmatize mental based on gender. Both the genders have mental health issues and there should be equality of discussion. Make it possible for men to share their emotions and discuss their mental state openly.
More support groups for men- We have seen several support groups for women, kids, couples, and families. In comparison to this, the support groups for men are very less. There should be more support groups that offer help to men and talk about their mental health.
Stop defining manhood- Manhood has its own meaning. Don’t change its definition on the grounds of mental health. If you are going through a tough time mentally, it does not matter if you are a man or a woman. Mental health is a priority for every gender. Mental health is not subjective to masculinity or femininity.
Men should understand men first- If you have problems, you generally share it with your friends first. In the case of men, if they have certain problems, they should be able to share it with their guy friends without any fear of being judged. Men should understand men and make it a point that they do it in their comfort zone.
Mental health of men is not just one individual’s responsibility, but it is a collective responsibility. It is a social responsibility to maintain a good and comfortable environment for men and their mental illnesses.
Talk it out. Don’t fear!