Unfortunately mental health issues have always been attached to some degree of stigma, and although this has reduced dramatically in recent years, one group are still at serious risk – men. With rates of male suicide at their highest for centuries, we want to break down the barriers and understand how and why it is important to break down the stigma associated with men and their mental health.
The media portrays the ideal man as strong, unbreakable, and often heartless. For generations, young boys have been told that they shouldn’t cry, that they should “man-up” and that any feeling which isn’t aggression or pride is not for them. Men are repeatedly taught that any sign of weakness is not manly, asking for help is for women, and their mental health is not important. Despite men holding the most power on a global scale, they are all too often held back by a prevailing stigma that men should not express their feelings, should not feel pain or sadness, and should never seek help.
This is a dangerous attitude to have, however it is the one most commonly portrayed on our TV screens, in the paper, and even by those closest to us. It is the kind of attitude which has left men helpless and vulnerable, with many have spiralled into self-destructive behaviour such as alcoholism, drug abuse or even suicide as a result. With young male suicide rates at a record high, but positive progressions in mental health amongst most other groups, isn’t it time we encouraged men to talk about mental health, and end the stigma once and for all?
With 75% of suicides committed by men, we want to encourage men of all kinds to come forward and talk about their mental health. But we know that this is a hard first step to take at first, so our advice is this.
Arm yourself with information: Find out about support in and around your area available to you (if this is lacking, look into online video therapy such as Dr Julian)Find your Vice: discover something that makes you feel calmer and use it to your advantage – e.g. running, writing or cycling – this may help you to clear your head and realise that speaking out needn’t be stressful.Share the load: open up to someone, be it your doctor, work colleague, sister, brother mother, father or friend. The hardest step is the first one, but many people say it is the one that makes the most difference.
And last but not least, support the men around you. Listening to someone else can make all the difference to them, and the likelihood is you know someone struggling. Let’s end male suicide for good. Let’s make “manning up” and opening up the same thing.
Source: Dr Julian Existing Website feed