The stigma surrounding mental health is preventing many men from seeking the help they need. This is a serious problem that is literally killing men.
Mental illness is often seen as a weakness, particularly in men. Seeking treatment for mental health issues can be seen as a sign of weakness or failure. This stigma stops many men from seeking the help they need.
This is a serious problem because mental illness can be deadly. Men are more likely to die by suicide than women. In fact, “In 2019, suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the United States—accounting for 47,511 deaths overall” according to the CDC.
There are many reasons why men may be reluctant to seek treatment for mental health problems such as mood disorders, clinical depression, suicidal thoughts, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and more. They may not want to appear weak or vulnerable. They may worry about being seen as a failure. They may be afraid of what others will think.
Whatever the reason, it’s important to seek help if you’re struggling with mental health issues and learn how to take a mental health day for your health. There is no shame in seeking help. Mental illness is a real and serious problem. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.
5.3% of men have depression symptoms. “The percentage of alcohol-attributable deaths among men amounts to 7.7 % of all global deaths compared to 2.6 % of all deaths among women” according to the World Health Organization. Men are also two to three times more likely to misuse drugs than women.
Depression and suicide rank as leading causes of death among men, and yet men are still far less likely than women to seek mental health treatment.
The Stigma Around Men’s Mental Health
While we have made strides in reducing the stigma around mental illness, there is still more work to be done in terms of normalizing the idea of seeking help. This is especially true for men, who may feel ashamed or guilty about admitting they need assistance.
Part of the problem may be that some men see asking for help as a sign of weakness. This outdated way of thinking needs to be changed in order to better support the mental health of all individuals.
Mental illness should be viewed in the same way as any other physical condition – it is not a personal failing but rather something that requires medical attention. By breaking down the barriers that prevent men from seeking help, we can create a more supportive and inclusive society.
Men’s mental health is an important issue that often gets overlooked. International Men’s Day celebrates men and their mental health as well as Men’s Mental Health Month. These are great ways to start breaking the stigma around men’s mental health and encourage more open discussion about the issue. By raising awareness and encouraging men to seek help, we can make a real difference in addressing this important issue. June is men’s mental health awareness month.
Destroying Toxic Masculinity
It’s not just asking for help that men seem to struggle with. The American Psychological Association has found that some men also have a harder time establishing social connections. This could be because of the way males are brought up – taught to be strong and quiet. According to research, this model of masculinity can lead to increased rates of depression and substance misuse.
If we want to help men before they reach a breaking point, we need to change the way we view masculinity. Emphasizing healthy coping resources and emotional connections could make all the difference.
Ending the Stigma
It’s important to address the stigma around men asking for help. Too often, men feel like they have to tough it out on their own, even in the face of physical illness. This can lead to denial that there is a problem at all.
We can all foster more transparency around mental health and substance abuse issues. No one is immune to stress. Talking with others about how it is affecting you can foster empathy, camaraderie, and support — all of which fight against the feelings of isolation on which addiction and mental health issues can thrive. Depression includes many types of depression and can manifest itself in different ways.
A lot of this comes down to education as well. We need people to realize that these are medical problems, that there are good treatments available, and that there is hope involved. Untreated mental health issues can very quickly manifest into physical ailments, especially when people are self-treating with alcohol and other substances.
Awareness and education play the biggest role in terms of what can be done to help people as early as possible and improve gender stereotypes. People need to be willing to talk to their loved ones and seek help. There are all these wonderful options available that can help, but first, they have to be willing to try them.
When to Get Help
If you think someone you care about is struggling, or if you think you might need help, look for these signs that indicate a need for outside assistance:
- Mood Changes
- Stages of Grief/Going through the grieving process
- Work performance decline
- Weight Gain or Loss
- Sadness, loss of interest, or pleasure of things once enjoyed
- Stomach Issues
If you recognize any of these symptoms in a loved one, remind them that asking for help can be a sign of strength rather than weakness. Try to schedule an appointment with a mental health provider or a substance use disorder professional (in cases where alcohol or other drugs are being used to self-medicate).
There is hope. Help is available. Educate yourself about your or your loved one’s addiction and mental health issues. Participate in peer support groups or family support, such as Al-Anon, Families Anonymous, or a support group for families coping with addiction and mental health issues for men and women.
To reduce stigma, we must get the message across that it’s OK to ask for help, whether for yourself, your loved ones, or anyone you think may need it. And for those who have overcome mental health obstacles in their own lives, don’t be afraid to share your own stories.
If you think you or a loved one may be in immediate crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline for resources and support at 800-273-8255.