AN EPIDEMIC THAT HAS TO END - STIGMA SURROUNDING MEN’S MENTAL HEALTH
“Men don’t cry!”, ”You have a family to take care of!”, “Man up!”, are a few of the things the society tells men. From the beginning, men are told that showing emotions is weak, that being vulnerable is not a quality a man should have because that makes him ‘unmanly’. The society itself teaches them to bottle up and suppress their emotions to a point where they lose contact with them. What we don’t realize is that shunning the temporary emotion at that time actually creates a stigma around the fact that seeking help is necessary, and portrays it as being weak. We are all in the epidemic where men seeking help for mental health concerns are seen as not being strong enough. This has given rise to a lot of mental health concerns including suicides. We need to understand that mental health is not gender-based, it doesn’t discriminate between genders which makes men reaching out for help as important as females reaching out! By saying statements like those above, we prevent men from seeking the help they need and make it important for them to meet unrealistic expectations. Due to this, it becomes more important that we support those people including men, who are reaching out for help.
The recent suicide of a famous actor Sushant Singh Rajput has brought to light the importance of people talking openly about mental health concerns and support those who are suffering. Suicides can have a ripple effect on people which can be dealt with by talking more about mental health openly and encouraging help, rather than preventing speaking about those topics. For eg. after Sushant’s suicide, a teen from Port Blair, a 17-year-old girl from Patna, a 10-year-old from West Bengal, a 13-year-old from Odisha and a 21-year-old from Andhra Pradesh, committed suicide. It is high time that we bring mental health concerns to the spotlight. To reach out for help itself has a lot of stigma surrounding it, which in the case of males ends up increasing because they are supposed to be ‘strong’, look after their family when sometimes they even forget their own health.
Here are some ways in which you can encourage men to seek help!
Support Them - Often, we find men without support because they feel that they can handle it all on their own. Supporting men through their problems even if you don’t know the solution to them is necessary. Small supportive acts like actively listening can make them feel that their feelings are validated.
Tell Them That it’s Okay to Express - Encourage men to express their emotions to break the chain of the stigma that they aren’t allowed to do so. This includes letting your sons/brothers cry when they don’t feel good, by telling them that it is okay to not be okay and that you are there for them. Remember, change begins at home and we need to end this stigma.
Suggest Therapy - Because men are raised with the conception that asking for help is only for the weak, they might be hesitant to seek help. Tell them that what they feel is normal and that seeking professional help for it is normal, too. It doesn’t make him any less of a man but only makes him more human.
Let’s end this epidemic together, encourage men to seek help, and end the stigma surrounding men seeking help for mental health! We can’t lose more people to suicide!
Let’s remember that -
Men can cry.
Men can have anxiety.
Men can be emotional.
Men feel too.
Men can be sensitive.
It is okay for men to seek help.
Showing emotions doesn’t make men unmanly.
Men don’t have to be strong all the time.
Men’s mental health matters, too.
MAN UP!- Seek the help you deserve!
Your mental health matters as much as your physical health. Don't hesitate to take a step towards your mental well-being. If you’re looking at talking to a professional, book your Initial Consultation with us on https://www.themoodspace.com/freeconsultation or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Take a step towards bettering your mental wellbeing because you deserve it!
Written by - Mahika Solanki
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