There’s this stigma attached to mental health issues that stop people from getting the help they need. It’s been dubbed a ‘silent epidemic’, but it is a health concern that needs immediate attention. Of course, there are numerous awareness campaigns and international observances dedicated to the issue, but there is still a long way to go. And this is especially true for men.
Traditionally, boys are taught to be strong and quiet. For generations, anything akin to ‘struggling’ has been seen as weakness, and so the awareness around men’s mental health issues is of particular importance. Surveys from around the world report that men find it difficult to open up about their mental health. They are far less likely to admit there is a problem and ask for help.
Then again, it may also be difficult to identify in men because, not only are some issues more prevalent for men, but they can also cause different symptoms than what we know them to be. For example, we know depression to cause people to feel sad and withdrawn, but for men depression may manifest as anger and irritability. In fact, according to WHO, substance abuse and antisocial behaviours are higher in men trying to deal with these issues than women.
There may be different challenges presented to men and women when it comes to mental health, but there are a few things everyone can do to help themselves:
- Accept who you are. There is no need to feel embarrassed or ashamed.
- Stay connected. Spend time with people that make you feel good.
- Take a break. Get some fresh air and a change of scenery for a different perspective.
- Talk more. Open up about your issues. You have no idea how therapeutic it is just to have someone listen.
- Gender to gender. In many instances’ men/women will take advice or direction from other men/women they admire and respect.
- Move more. Add more activity to your day and watch the serotonin levels soar.
- Eat well. Our brains need a mix of nutrients to function properly.
- Drink sensibly. Alcohol changes the way our brains work – don’t overdo it.
- Reach out. Find a qualified person to help you overcome your issues.