MEN'S MENTAL HEALTH
Discussion about mental health is becoming easier. However there is still a stigma surrounding it. Society’s expectations and traditional gender roles are still playing a role in why men are less likely to discuss or seek help. The idea of asking for help can make men feel as though their masculinity is being compromised and social inequality can also play a part. The fear of stigma and lack of understanding can mean some men struggle with their feelings on their own.
“I’ve learnt to deal with it”
“I’m too embarrassed to talk about it”
“I don’t want to admit I need help”
These are a few statements I have heard as a counsellor when working with male clients.
Let’s start with some statistics:
In 2020 just over 5000 suicides were registered in the UK and males aged 45-49 continue to have the highest rate. Suicide is still the largest cause of death for men under 50 and in Scotland men are 3 times more likely to die by suicide than women.
73% of adults who ‘go missing’ are men (York University)
Men are less likely to access psychological therapies than women
Office for National Ntatistics
You may not truly know the mental state of your friends, but you can help.
Here are some common symptoms:
Lack of interest or pleasure in hobbies or activities
Tiredness or lack of energy
Feelings of hopelessness
Feeling on edge
Feeling something bad is going to happen
Avoiding social situations
Let’s start listening and observing
Let your friend you know you’re there to listen without judgement.
Sometimes we say we are ok when we are not, ask twice they may open up the second time around.
Drop the banter. Banter can be all well and good but if this is all you have, do you really know what is going on with your friend? Speak to the person behind the lad.
If your friend asks you to go for a drink on a one-to-one or stops you for a chat he might actually want to share something important.
Just be a good mate. You don’t need to solve their problems they just want to know you are there for them and will be supportive.
What is important is that more men and boys continue to share the stories of their struggles. It will enable others to open up, feel accepted, gain self-awareness and help stop the stigma.
Here are some supportive websites to learn more about men’s mental health