When talking about people's mental health in general, men’s mental health is often left out of the conversation. Many individuals still aren't comfortable broaching the subject, and it's often overlooked even though it significantly impacts.
The stigma associated with mental health presents many difficulties for men. Many men believe that admitting they struggle with mental health issues like depression or anxiety would be a sign of weakness. This particular viewpoint could be influenced by their upbringing or the media's portrayal of men.
According to research, depression or bipolar disease affects the lives of 12.2 per cent of Australian men between the ages of 16 and 85. Meanwhile, 20.4% of males aged 18 to 65 in Australia have experienced what it's like to live with anxiety at some point.
Common mental health issues for men
Depression in men can look different from women's in several ways. While depressed women may appear melancholy, fatigued, or empty, depressed men are more likely to appear aggressive, hostile, and irritated.
In most cases, men may have a hard time recognising what's going on within, and it is more difficult for others to notice when men are depressed since their despair is hidden under aggressive emotions.
When men seek medical help for depression, it is typically due to physical symptoms (such as a racing heart, headaches, or digestive disorders) rather than anything related to their emotions.
Many other factors might badly impact your mental and emotional health. To name a few frequent problems:
- Divorce, breakups, and other relationship issues
- Economic and professional pressures
- retirement or unemployment
- Physiological distress
- Isolation from friends and family
- partner’s pregnancy and the birth of a baby
- drug and alcohol abuse
How the Mental Health Stigma Affects Men
The stigma surrounding men's mental health affects how men view issues related to mental health and therapy. The following are some illustrations of how this stigma may manifest in real life:
Men have difficulty articulating how they feel.
Even at an early age, men may not receive support or be discouraged from expressing powerful emotions, particularly if they are experiencing feelings such as depression, anxiety, or being overwhelmed. And when they become adults, some men are mocked or looked down upon for displaying fear or profound grief. Consequently, men may attempt to suppress these unfavourable feelings and refrain from sharing them with other people.
Many men with mental health issues go undiagnosed and untreated.
Men may be less likely to recognise negative feelings as indications of a mental health disorder or be more prone to play down how they're feeling. And because men are more likely to link emotions of melancholy or isolation with poor mental health, it's possible that they won't notice signs such as rage, impatience, restlessness, impulsive behaviour, sleeplessness, or exhaustion.
Instead of getting treatment, some men may choose to self-medicate with alcohol or other substances or engage in unhealthy coping techniques.
When confronted with unwelcome and unfavourable feelings, men often attempt to deal by compartmentalising their feelings or running away from them. They may engage in behaviours that release dopamine and serve as a distraction from how they are feeling.
Such behaviours include engaging in risky activities, having casual sex, participating in competitive hobbies, and consuming alcoholic drinks or illegal drugs. Some of these diversions can be dangerous and lead to addictive habits or drive men to disregard other areas of their life that are more stressful (such as "healing" a problematic relationship or managing a child with behavioural challenges).
Men may think therapy is not effective at all.
Men may have the misconception that therapy is ineffective or that it won't be helpful to them in any case. It is also possible that they believe "talking it out" isn't the answer they're looking for to their problem. Men battling mental health often get the impression that they have already lost the battle.
If they can't seem to handle their feelings or behaviours, it can be detrimental to their sense of self-confidence and the way they see themselves. When a man feels shame, self-hatred, or low self-esteem, he might think he's a lost cause and that going to therapy wouldn't help.
Many men wait until their mental health or behavioural difficulties have reached a crisis point before considering getting help.
Sometimes men wait until they've struck the bottom before they decide to see a therapist. A person's mental health struggles can exacerbate relationship problems. Their partner may have to issue an ultimatum before they agree to therapy for fear that they may harm themselves or someone else.
Where to Get Help?
Maintaining a healthy mind is crucial to living a long and happy life. A sound mind is essential for coping with life's stresses, developing meaningful connections with people, and experiencing fulfilment in your daily activities.
Mental health issues are common and do not reflect character flaws or weaknesses. Admitting that there is a problem and seeking assistance can be an act that requires much bravery. Like taking care of your physical health, the earlier you start working on improving your mental health, the better off you will be.
Anyone can be affected by mental illness, but due to the stigma often attached, it can be challenging for men to seek treatment for their mental health issues. A mental illness and admitting that you need help are not indicators of a lack of strength. It is not a sign of weakness at all to ask for assistance.
When you do not seek the necessary medical attention, you may internalise the stigma, resulting in feelings of shame and a decrease in your self-esteem. The following are some measures that you can take to overcome the stigma that is associated with receiving mental health care:
Seek mental health treatment.
The brilliant first step you may take would be to consult your primary care physician or a mental health professional, such as a psychologist or a counsellor. Additionally, there are a significant number of reputable organisations that you can get in touch with for assistance.
The quality of life of a person with a mental illness can be significantly enhanced by obtaining professional help. Mental health treatment centres provide easy access to professionals that can help adequately treat your mental health.
Create your mental health journal
Writing in a journal regularly can be a valuable tool for self-reflection and self-management. Keeping a journal can aid in perspective by giving you a place to vent about how you're feeling and to celebrate your successes as you work to better yourself.
Consult close ones for comfort and understanding.
Isolating yourself can seem like a good idea when struggling with mental illness, but it can prevent one from getting the help they need. When circumstances are rough, it helps to have the support of those you care about. Men may feel uncomfortable talking about their mental health with other men, but they often feel more comfortable opening up to female friends or family members.