Men and mental health

Mental health is something that concerns us all. It’s not just something women deal with, it’s something men have to cope with too.

But statistics show that 40% of men don’t talk to anyone about their mental health and that must change. Mental health continues to be a taboo subject for men, with men dealing with feelings of sadness, anxiety and loneliness on their own and in silence. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Mental health statistics and facts:

  • 12.5% of men suffer from one of the common mental health disorders;
  • 76% of suicides are committed by men, suicide is the biggest cause of death in men under the age of 35;
  • 36% of psychologist referrals are for men.

I’m not sure why in 2019 it’s still taboo. With more people coming forward to talk about mental health and mental health being encouraged, both men and women should be comfortable with talking about how they feel. Although societal gender norms still stigmatise men, I feel it is up to the individual to choose to get past that.

Where society struggles to accept certain norms, individually we must break down the barriers. It is important to recognise and encourage each other to speak about how they feel. For someone who grew up with a disability, I am well aware of the stigma, but to accept there is one and change nothing, doesn’t help us mentally.

It is important we encourage each other to talk about how we feel. There is no shame in saying ‘I feel sad’ or ‘I’m feeling vulnerable. Yes, there is a stigma but a lot of this goes back to childhood. If parents encourage, their children will participate.

When it comes to marriage and children, parents’ roles, around culture can change the status quo. Equal partnerships can work, but where partnerships are centred around the children, and not around each other, it can make communication difficult.

Where men don’t talk about mental health, others must continue to encourage. Moving forward, we must all encourage and be encouraged to talk about mental health.

My Conclusion

Although it’s not easy talking about the things we struggle with mentally, it’s better than having to deal with illness the other end. We don’t grow up in a world where we will all voluntarily choose to come forward.

If we’ve seen our parents talk, we will learn to talk and even if we haven’t, we can choose for ourselves. I didn’t come from that kind of background. Gender is immaterial. If men want to talk, they’ll talk. They have to want to.


5 Nov, 2019

4 thoughts on “Men and mental health

  1. Speaking as a man with mental health issues, it would have been good to feel comfortable, being able to talk about my feelings.

    I grew up in a time where men were supposed to be strong and fearless, but if you weren’t you were considered to be a sissy or worse.

    We also grew up in a world where we were discouraged from talking about our feelings, which only made things worse. I didn’t want to be anything like my parents, but by not dealing with my issues, I feel like I became just like them.

    It would have been great to have avoided all the pain and suffering of the past 50 years, but I need to get beyond that to make the rest of my life bearable to live it.

    1. Thanks Randy. Yes, now you’re literally in the driving seat. You get to make your own judgment calls.

      Sadly, we cannot change the past, we mustn’t live in the past, we must move forward, how best we can.

      It would have been good for you to have been able to talk about how you feel and have the support. I’m routing for you.

  2. Men have always found it hard to open up and talk about their feelings and there has been huge stigma associated with men sharing their feelings about their mental health.

    Thankfully we now know that is a load of rubbish. There is no reason why men cant talk about mental health issues, such as emotional problems, work or financial pressures.

    We must accept it’s okay and the days of it being a sign of weakness and feeling we have to keep it to ourselves are long gone.

    Blogs like this are a hugely important part of this change.

    1. Thank you. I think so too. Honestly, I never thought about how life would work around my mental health once I got my diagnosis. But I also know that talking about my issues and experiences, lightens the load for me. It cuts my problem down to size.

      As you say there is no difference between the genders. But it is everything to do with society. Society stigmatises people, culture, religion, people who are different, people like myself with disability. It’s back to basics on this one.

      For me, never having spoken about my issues and living with stress around a disability I didn’t know I had, I was aware from an early age, just how important it was for me to speak about my experiences.

      I do think if more of us did talk about the things that matter, the things that bother us and affect us, we would deal with less stress, we’d be happier people, we would all get along more.

      We all must change. I hope my blog brings about some of that change and helps us get past stigma too.

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