Mental illness is a sensitive topic to discuss. So tricky that it takes years of solitary for men before reaching out to someone. And when they do, they are already at rock bottom while others do not make any attempt anymore. It is probably one of the factors why males commit suicide at a rate of 3 63 times higher than women making mental illnesses such as depression a significant risk factor for suicide.
Combating mental health concerns is challenging. Your battle does not end on dealing with the mental condition itself; you also have to face the stigma associated with it. For men, this pressure is increased by the dread of seeming weak or useless. Hiding from the tough façade may eventually hinder men from getting the adequate help they need causing more harm.
Certain conditions don’t apply to men
People think that some mental illnesses, most notably eating disorders, do not afflict males. However, while they are less likely than women to struggle from such conditions, it does not rule out that they can still be affected the same way. According to research, approximately one in three individuals battling with eating problems is a man.
Sadly, most of them are frequently ashamed of it that they resort to concealing or sharing it with a chosen few, not realizing that doing so can be extremely hazardous and even life-threatening. Therefore, if you think you are suffering from such or know anyone who needs assistance, ensures that you seek immediate help from professionals to diagnose further and address your case. You can also attend therapies, treatment plans for anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders you may have.
Men do not get Postpartum depression
In the United States, roughly 1 in every four new dads suffer from paternal postpartum depression or PPD with signs and symptoms similar to those experienced by new mothers. But, contrary to popular belief, men, like women, may also go through hormonal changes throughout their partner’s pregnancy and following the delivery of their baby.
While these are intended to strengthen father-child bonds, they can occasionally aggravate psychological distress. The causes can range from relationship problems, unplanned pregnancy, financial difficulties, and poverty. In addition, while women tend to bury their grief within, males tend to turn that sadness outwards via irritation, drug usage, and anxieties.
Men can’t feel emotions
Another stigma attached to men and mental health is that they don’t have or can’t exhibit emotions as women do; therefore, they cannot suffer from such illnesses. In fact, to this day, most people still believe that males should be incapable of expressing any intense feelings, which is extremely harmful and impractical. And while subtle gender differences are apparent, the common assumption that males must not, cannot, and should not express their emotions is a product of a toxic culture.
Men are capable of self-recovery
Another prevalent belief is that males do not require mental health diagnosis or therapy. Any disruption to their mental well-being can magically go away by telling them to put on a brave face or just man up. Unfortunately, most guys take this seriously, as females are more willing to open up about their issues and mental health-related concerns to their therapist. In contrast, males are more likely to turn into alcohol or substance abuse before disclosing their problems to a professional.
In this day and age, people should already normalize men seeking medical attention for their illnesses and needs, especially if they believe that these issues are severely hurting their quality of life and the people around them in any manner whatsoever. Furthermore, the earlier they are detected, the smoother and easier their rehabilitation will be.
Men suffering from mental health conditions are often violent
Another misconception that we need to stop believing is that men struggling with mental health issues tend to get aggressive and violent; thus, they must be avoided at all times. This is misleading and only after creating fear among men with depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems. We need to keep in mind that just because a person has a problem dealing with his mental state, that does not automatically make them a threat to society.
You’re not “turning” or becoming someone different just because something inside of you needs some patching up. Most mental health patients are harmless, and most of the symptoms for their particular disorder do not always manifest on the surface. This applies in particular to males who are already going through difficulties dealing with their illness.
It is high time to respect and normalize the mental state of men by disseminating and accepting proper knowledge about it. Let’s aim for a society where men do not need to hide their sufferings anymore and that seeking help should be celebrated rather than frowned upon.