Mental Well-being in Men
Mental well being continues to be a taboo subject for many men and also regarding the mental well being of men particularly. Although mental health issues affect both genders, men’s mental health has generally received less attention and support. Men who express feelings of despair are labeled weak and unmanly by society causing their mental problems to be overlooked and go undiagnosed. The stigma associated with mental illness in men persists despite efforts to increase awareness of mental health issues in general. For a more insightful look into why the mental well-being regarding men is overlooked, we encroach upon this vital reason :
Gender norms and the stigma attached
Gender norms profoundly shape how we perceive mental health. These norms are what claim to determine expected and “normal” behavior for each gender that eventually influences mental well-being and mental health concerns. They tend to intensify the stigma attached to mental health regarding men. For example, a boy displaying vulnerability or crying will be encouraged to behave stronger and avoid showing such emotions. Women being relegated to a secondary role influences their outlook on mental well-being as well, generally terming them as irrational and sensitive as well as making them more prone to being prescribed medication.
Our society tends to perpetuate gender conformity that leads to individuals having heightened levels of stress regarding their gender rigidness.
Acknowledging the gender bias and gender norms that are prevalent in our society, will help ease their harmful effects on individuals and create a more supportive environment for all genders.
Expectations of men that result in mental health problems
Men have been told to be less emotional, act stronger and never show any weakness while simultaneously being expected to be the breadwinner of their family. Over working generally leads to heightened stress levels which can lead to other mental health conditions. Due to the society expectations that have been pushed on them men are less likely to seek out help for their mental health struggles. Instead, they choose to rely on unhealthy support systems like substance abuse and alcohol. This makes it crucial to encourage men to ditch the traditional gender roles so that they don’t develop an addiction to self medication and alcohol.
Men are generally conditioned to think they are less worthy or strong if they show signs of mental illness. They tend to devalue themselves which as a result is very harmful to their mental well-being.
Due to this many men facing the stigma tied to their mental health result in simply ignoring or rejecting their mental health condition and hope it will go away without mention.
Ways to support men’s mental well-being are :
1. Encourage men to talk openly about mental health- Social media has become a great medium to express oneself as well as a great space for positivity and inclusivity. It is a great source for stigma-busting support.
2. Finding a healthy support system- A community of people or an individual who allows you to express yourself comfortably is crucial.
3. Spread awareness- Choosing empowerment over shame is a vital step toward achieving our goal of minimizing and ending the stigma attached to men’s mental health.
To conclude there is an undeniable correlation between mental health and gender roles revealing that men are less susceptible to mental health disorders yet when they are mentally ill, they are less likely to recover. Most of the reasoning can be linked to hegemonic masculinity, stereotypes, and stigma. In order to support men who are experiencing greater feelings of loneliness and despair and to remove the obstacles that prevent men from getting the treatment they need when they do, it is essential to improve the mental health of males through providing a supportive environment.
Contributed by Pavitra V.S, Grade 11 - EuroSchool HSR
She actively engages in animal rescuing and her interests include reading, crochet and kickboxing.
Carpediem would like to acknowledge the use of photo by Johnhain on Pixabay