Men Mental Health: The ‘Manning Up’ Narrative| The Stigma Around Men Mental Health

I hate to admit that this expression is in most cases used in wrong concepts. The idea that mental health concerns can be overcome by simply acting like a man is lame and misguided.

Kwisepsychology.com

Surveys across the globe show more men from all corners finding it hard to open up about their mental health issues; this is although they (men) are more at risk of attempting suicide in comparison to women. Today we look at the possible causes; is it the way we say it? Or the way we bring up our kids?

If you grew up in a blended family, as I did, or if you are lucky to have both sons and daughters, you are likely to attest that the way we handle our daughters is not the same way we handle our sons. And you are probably acknowledging this because they are two genders! Well, it is true. But what do we say to them? How do we teach them to cope with difficult situations in life? We teach them to be hard on life and often use the phrase, ‘man up’. But what impact does it have in their lives, in the present or the later days?

According to WHO, three times as many men as women lose their lives to suicide. The number is slightly higher in the developed/high-income countries according to 2018 WHO reports; 3.56 times more men dying from suicide than women.

The ‘Manning Up’ Narrative

“Growing up, you figure out really quickly how a boy is supposed to act. You learn what it takes to “be a man.” It’s like a playbook: Be strong. Don’t talk about your feelings. Get through it on your own. … These values about men and toughness are so ordinary that they’re everywhere … and invisible at the same time, surrounding us like air or water.” NBA player Kevin Love’s 

I hate to admit that this expression is in most cases used in wrong concepts. The idea that mental health concerns can be overcome by simply acting like a man is lame and misguided.

Almost all mental health disorders do not select the Y chromosome in the DNA to conclude whether to attack or not. Men are faced with similar problems as women, and again sad that more men die of suicide. Simply because they choose to man up.

In the African setup, women were not heard, and after civilization, the societies and leaders started the movements for the girl child, and with feminist campaigning for a better life for the girls, not to blast the feminists, but what about the boy child? Who hears the boy child?

If you are lucky to find support as a man, feel the need for supporting other men who may be in the position that you were once in. this goes to women too, yes men are strong but encourage men health talk to your family and friends.

The Stigma Around Men And Mental Health

Although you may interrupt to acknowledge that the stigma around mental health has no gender, mental health in most societal setups is perceived to be a “women’s issue” as it is depicted by the media and the social platforms that women are faced by more challenges compared to men. This concluded perception by society makes men shy away from seeking help or sharing issues where they choose to “man up” and stay silent to avoid being seen “as weak”. In minority communities with more risk factors of mental illnesses, the stigma is greater creating a silent pandemic of depression and other mental illnesses faced by men in silence.

Men find it difficult to share their feelings, struggles, and mental health issues than women. From my personal experiences, I have come across many blogs, talks, and ore of online content on mental health from women that I have seen from men. Or does it mean that all men are just doing fine mentally? No. we have seen reports from all over media men taking their lives from suicide three times more than the reports from women. Men of all ages;- young and old.

What Can You Do About It?

Any time is a good time. There has never been a better time to take action; accept yourself- seek help- be accepted – save yourself and your mental health. Recently I talked with a twitter friend (a friend I have never met), and I was reminding him that the first step is given in to yourself. That is if you are suffering from mental health, it might seem hard but it the easiest way to start.

Useful Ways To Tackle This Challenge;

  • The first step should be trying to find someone that you trust. This can be a close family member, or a friend, or even your doctor.

 

  • Try to think into reasons why you are having difficulties in seeking help and find out whether these reasons are stopping you from getting the help that you need

 

  • Invest your time in reading broadly about mental health. Read more about the varied guidance to mental health wellness and advice that is readily available. You can read threads and stories that will help you understand what other men go through in life.

 

  • Look for a support group. There are several support groups both online and community-based groups. For those who attend places of worship, there are support groups in churches for people with common grounds.

 

  • Identify your weapon tools to achieving your desired mental health. This could be a regular exercise routine, spending more time with friends and family, exploring your artistic side, among others.

 

  • Get yourself involved in activities and campaigns dedicating their time to raising mental awareness or generally giving your time back to the community.

Let us not wait until ‘no shave November’ to talk about men’s mental health. Through my campaigns on mental health awareness- both online and offline, I have talked with men of all backgrounds of life, ages, and with different mental health disquiets. And it is quite encouraging that more men are opening up about their mental concerns, and this should continue, where men should encourage more men to speak up!

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