There is a serious health epidemic that’s affecting more and more men, yet still many are hesitant to talk about or even mention it. Mental health affects everyone, but the stigmas surrounding mental health still continue to be felt strongly by men in particular. It’s an issue that’s eroding relationships, breaking up families, and leading to the severe danger for the men we love. It’s time to address the silent crisis that is men’s mental health.
Why is it a silent crisis?
When we think about gender norms negatively affecting people, it’s easy to see the ways in which women have been marginalized throughout much of history, but men have been dealing with their share of societal expectations, too. Though we may not think we directly contribute to it, men are repeatedly taught that they must be tough, fearless, and without any sign of weakness. Many women are also unable to deal with displays with weakness from men, often because they’re simply unexpected and we don’t know how to deal with them. As a result, men bottle it up, which can have dangerous effects.
The crises men are dealing with
There are very few mental health issues that affect one sex over the other, with rare exceptions like post-partum depression. However, there are disorders that overwhelmingly affect men compared to women. For instance, more women are more likely to experience diagnosable depression. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder and substance abuse, which means knowing local treatment options like a men’s drug rehab center is important. Knowing that addiction tends to affect men more often, we should be ready to intervene earlier.
Keep an eye out for the warning signs
Some people keep control of how they display their emotions very effectively, making it hard to notice when they are in trouble. However, there are many signs of stress that tend to show unconsciously. Learning and recognizing the emotional, physical, and behavioral symptoms of stress and other emotional disorders can help us also recognize when we need to reach out and check-in with the men in our lives.
Stamping out the stigma
It can be difficult to make an individual impact on stigma, but we can all do our part. For instance, we can all help to make awareness campaigns such as Men’s Mental Health Month more visible. We can attempt to talk more regularly about how the men in our lives are doing, simply checking in with them, letting them know that their wellbeing is important and that we want to hear from them. We have to also pay attention to when women and men alike belittle displays of vulnerability, or suffering, from men, and call it out. As a society, we’re getting much better about calling out overt sexism towards women, but this is one issue that many turn a blind eye when it comes to men.
If there are men you love in your life, then it’s partly your responsibility to pay attention and to notice when they’re dealing with the signs of stress or other mental health disorders. Recognizing a call for help and being there to respond can be life-changing for those fighting their demons.