The stigma around men seeking support for mental health is very real.
We are told that ‘’real men’’ don’t cry. The reality is, a harrowing amount of men are dying from the modern health epidemic of the 21st century. Suicide rates are only increasing and statistic show a significantly higher number of males than females are ending their own lives.
An existing cultural barrier is preventing men from getting help. ‘’Real men’’ are told to be strong, not soft. To ‘just get on with it’ or ‘stop feeling sorry for yourself’, no one wants to hear you moan and if you’re a man you are expected to be tough and resilient to any of your emotional worries. For many men talking about their mental well-being equates to a loss of masculinity, and the thought of seeking professional help is impossible. The daunting thought of being viewed by society as mentally ‘weak’ is simply, unthinkable. The truth is, being a strong man doesn’t mean you should suffer in silence.
Let's break down the barriers for seeking help:
Everyone has bad days, and we all go through hard times. But when do we listen to ourselves and understand what to do when things get a little too much? Breaking down the social stigma is possible, but first, allow us to discover ways we can help men open up about mental health conditions
How can men recognize emotions?
It is incredibly important to try to explore inner feelings and acknowledge own emotions. We all go through tough times, whether it’s work stress, a traumatic life event, a breakup, losing your job, low self-esteem, or comparing yourself to others and feeling like a failure. It can even be a build up of lots of small things others may deem as insignificant. Recognising emotions and worries can be the first step in the right direction to getting help. Admit that it is okay to feel these sad and stressful emotions, any battle you may be going through, big or small, needs thought and attention in order for them to be understood and solved.
Start talking about mental health
When talking about mental health, there is nothing to be ashamed of. The more conversations we have about mental illness, the more open society will become with the idea that men struggle mentally. You know what they say—a problem shared is a problem halved. It can be a real challenge opening up to someone; it takes time and sheer bravery to talk about your innermost deep thoughts. However, as we talk more openly about mental struggles you will be astonished at the number of men who will also be struggling with the same emotions.
Finding your community
Most men will struggle in opening up to their social circles, friends, families, and colleagues due to the existing stigma with the aim to preserve their masculinity. Surrounding yourself with a community of people who will listen to you, such as a family member, old or new friends, or a colleague that you can truly open to and express your thoughts to. This can take time to find that one support group who will be attentive and understanding. Ensure you don’t give up on finding someone to confide in, you will be surprised at the number of people who are fighting the same mental struggle.
Many men find that opening up emotionally to a stranger can be a liberating, as it doesn’t always have to be a close peer, regardless of who the person is there is always someone ready to listen.
Talking openly about mental health can save lives. Understand that men aren’t going through mental issues alone, one simple conversation can shift the shameful attitude, put a stop to the stigma and can lead to men making the life-changing decision to seek professional help and start their journey of healing.
We can prevent lives from being lost to mental illnesses by empowering men to ditch the social expectations of them being the tough guy. Instead, start a discussion about their emotional struggles and encourage them to reach out for help when things really do get tough.
If you know someone who needs reassurance that their mental emotions are valued and need to be listened to then call Simon Niblock at (512) 470-6976 for a free phone consultation.