June is Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month, so let’s start having conversations about men’s mental health!
Mental health is just as important for men as it is for women. However, men and boys are often reluctant to seek help for their mental state due to the stigma that surrounds it. Unfortunately, the topic of mental illness among men is often more taboo than mental illness itself. But according to the National Institute of Mental Health, 1 in 5 men will experience a mental illness in their lifetime. This includes common mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This means it is critical to take men’s emotional well-being just as seriously as any others.
The stigma around men’s mental health has a long history. It is rooted in traditional gender roles, which dictate that men should be tough and unemotional. Men or boys who show signs of weakness or vulnerability are often seen as being less masculine. In addition to traditional gender roles, there are a number of other factors that contribute to the stigma around men’s mental health. These include:
- Social expectations: Men are often expected to be the breadwinners and protectors of their families. This can make it difficult for them to admit that they are struggling with their emotional well-being, as they may feel like they are letting their families down.
- A lack of awareness: Many people are not aware of the signs and symptoms of psychological problems in men. This can make it difficult for men to get the help they need, as they may not realize that they are struggling with a mental illness.
- The fear of being labeled: Men may be afraid of being labeled as “broken” or “weak” if they seek help for their emotional health. This fear can prevent them from getting the help they need and deserve.
The stigma around men’s emotional health can have a number of negative consequences. It can lead to:
- Delayed or avoided treatment: Men who are afraid of the stigma may delay or avoid seeking treatment for their mental state. This can make their mental health problems worse, and could keep men from understanding what they are experiencing.
- Isolation and shame: The stigma can make men feel isolated and ashamed of their feelings. This can make it difficult for them to cope with their emotions and mental state or know where to start to find help.
- Self-harm and suicide: The stigma can increase the risk of self-harm and suicide in men. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is more likely for men to die from suicide than women.
There are a number of things that can be done to fight the stigma around men’s mental health. Do your part by:
- Educating yourself and others about mental health issues in men: This can help to dispel any myths and misconceptions about men’s mental well-being, and can help you and others recognize the signs of mental illness in men.
- Encouraging men to talk about their mental health: Create a comfortable environment for men and boys to express their thoughts and feelings. This will normalize expression for all people, not just women.
- Providing resources for men’s mental health: This can help men to get the help they need and feel supported in their journey to recovery.
By breaking down the stigma, we can help everyone get the help they need and improve their mental state.
If you are a man who has been affected by the stigma around mental health, please share your story. Your story can help to break down the stigma and make it more acceptable for men to seek help.
You can share your story by:
- Writing a blog post or article
- Creating a video
- Speaking at an event
- Sharing your story on social media
If you are a man who is struggling with your mental health please know that you are not alone. At Aspen Counseling Services, we support those of all genders and orientations in their mental health journey. Please reach out by calling or texting our office at 801-449-0017. We have offices in both American Fork and St. George in Utah or you are welcome to do teletherapy sessions from anywhere in Utah. Learn about our therapists to get started!
If you or a loved one are experiencing a mental health emergency, please call the crisis hotline at 988 or dial 911.
Thank you for reading!