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Why Don’t Men Talk About Mental Health?

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Women talking to a man about mental health

According to the National Alliance for Mental Illness(NAMI), one in five adults in the USA will experience mental illness in 2021. However, only around 37% of men diagnosed with mental illness received treatment.

Though men are less likely to cultivate mental illness than women, they are more prone to committing suicide, according to the Centre for Diseases Control and prevention.

The stats pointed out are pretty alarming.

Why is men’s mental health neglected? Is the emotional and mental health of men different? The answer is no! Diseases and conditions do not discriminate.

They affect all the genders equally. What makes it different for men is gender stereotyping and social stigma.

The prevalence of social norms has made it strenuous for both men and health care professionals to diagnose and treat men’s mental health.

A More Comprehensive Picture of Men’s Mental Health

Here are stats that will help you understand the seriousness of the issue:

  • Men are three times more likely to commit suicide in comparison to women.
  • Middle-aged men are at the highest risk of generating a mental health condition.
  • Men are much less likely to consult and go for psychological therapies.
  • In comparison to women, men are less satisfied with their lives.

Why do Men Shy Out When it Comes to Mental Health?

Where men’s mental health statistics are disturbing, it is not an unknown fact that men hesitate or avoid the talk. The traditional gender roleplay and society’s expectations have made men prone to not seek help at times of distress. Strong cultural stereotyping and patriarchy have always taught men to be ‘Strong’. 

When a gender has been forced to be dominant, strong, brave, emotionless, and the breadwinner for centuries, it is evident that it would be heart-wrenching for them to reach out for help or even éxpess’. All these factors contribute to the men not understanding that they are suffering from mental illness.

Does Depression Hits Men Different?

Absolutely not! The disease hits both men and women similarly. However, there can be differences in the ways one reacts to it. There are some common symptoms like irritability, anger issues, loss of control, etc.

Also, the coping measures adopted showcase a point of difference. Men are more likely to inculcate alcohol and drugs to escape their condition. Or can avoid gatherings and overwork themselves to steer clear away from what they are feeling.

There are a few common and widely prevalent health conditions found in men:

  • Anxiety disorder(generalized)
  • Depression.
  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorder.
  • Social anxiety disorder.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder.

The reasons stated above are that men often end up with drugs and alcohol as a potential method of coping with their condition. On the brighter side, research has shown that if readily accessible and men find it convenient, they may seek help or express themselves.

Also Read: Benefits of Yoga for Men’s Mental Health can Change Lives!

Men’s Mental Health Symptoms to Lookout For

A mix of biological and social factors determines how different genders react when diagnosed with mental illness. For men, the symptoms can be, but are not limited to:

  • Facing trouble concentrating.
  • Irritated very easily.
  • Involve in high-risk activities.
  • Suicidal thoughts.
  • Anger issues.
  • Substance misuse.
  • Persistently worried and frustrated.

Physical Symptoms Include:

  • Failing to fall asleep and poor sleep.
  • Poor digestive health.
  • Body ache and pain.
  • Energy changes.
  • Alteration in the diet.

There is No Harm in Reaching Out for Help!

Coming out of the men’s mental health stigma will take years to go for the community. The only way is to generalize men’s mental health and create awareness. If you are confirmed that you need help, it is brave to reach out for health. Although, it can be challenging to analyze how to seek help? Here are a few ways in which you can start off:

Get Started with Research

The first step towards acceptance of mental health is to research. Surf through the internet and look out for directories. They would give you a one-on-one insight into a specific disease or condition. They would also provide you with insights on what therapy and treatments are available for the same.

Research and find the right therapist that can help you too. Do not hesitate to reach out, and remember you are not alone.

A few men’s mental health organization directories that can help are

Consult a Doctor, you Know.

We all have a regular doctor whom we trust. This can be your base or starting point to fighting your mental health condition. Consult them on how you have been feeling. They may recommend a psychologist or psychiatrist depending on their health condition.

Call and Schedule Appointment

If one is confirmed which consultant he will be going to, it is advisable to prepare some ground before the appointment. For example, what all do you want to discuss in the session? If you are not comfortable with person to person therapy, there are teletherapy options available.

During the session, the therapist will recommend solutions and treatments depending on the severity of the condition. You may even be asked to take medications. Do not panic. This is just a temporary shift and not something you have to bear with for life.

Coping with Men’s Mental Health

In between those professional sessions, you need some self-care to support yourself. Self-love and care are a crucial part of well-being not only for women but also for men. Self-care will also lay the foundation for acceptance. It is fundamental to accept whatever you are going through and feeling rather than neglecting the same.

Here are some quick ways that may help you heal at times of sudden distress:

  • Talking to family and friends.
  • Meditation
  • Breathing exercises.
  • Write your feelings down.
  • Grounding.

You are not alone! Men’s mental health is tough to understand and deal with. Proper diagnostic and treatment are crucial. Understanding that what you are feeling is natural and does not make you ‘weak’ is something that has to be normalized. 

The only way out is acceptance and opening up to family and friends. Consult professionals and embrace the art of self-care.

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