Posted on: Monday, June 12th, 2017
This Tuesday, June 13th, is Men’s Mental Health Awareness Day. The purpose of Men’s Mental Health Awareness is to bring consciousness to an important matter that has been overlooked for so long. A study finds that women suffer with mental health issues more than men. But, could it be that men don’t show signs or talk about it? Men tend to present symptoms later than women, and are less likely to come forward and ask for help. They go through a huge amount of effort to mask their symptoms to appear masculine based on social standards. Despite that, some common patterns manifest in men:
Drinking or substance use as a way of coping with stress and irritability
Overwork to ignore the symptoms they are experiencing
Push away and hide from closest people in life
Acting angry, upset, or aggressive more often
Changes in diet and sleeping patterns
Engaging in high risk activities
Men suffer in silence because being chronically sad or depressed is not something people find “manly”. The society and media portrays men as heroes and protectors, and does not allow any room for mental fragility.
End The Stigma
There is already stigma related to mental health topics, especially men’s mental health. Men are expected to ‘Suck it up’ or ‘Man up’. They are instructed to be brave, stoic, and physically strong. For men, admitting their mental health issues reveals vulnerability, which leads to automatically question their masculinity.
Men in sports get plenty of support compared to men in drama or theatre. Some schools do not teach men how to cook because it is not traditionally masculine. Male abuse and rape victims are taken less seriously. No wonder most men have such complexes to show their vulnerable side.
For men, strength is represented by the ability endure the pain. They fail to acknowledge that being able to open up is even stronger since it takes courage to admit that you are not okay. By discussing depression, anxiety, and other mental health concerns, men realize that they are not alone. By talking more often and more openly about mental health conditions, we begin to normalize it.
Let us participate in ending stigma in men’s mental health. Help men realize that there are services that are responsive and open to talking about it. It can be challenging for men to open up to family or friends, but talking to a counsellor is great start to improve their lives.
Wear bright or lime-green coloured articles of clothing on Tuesday June 13th, and use #MensMHday hashtag on social media. You may also join #MensMHchat on Twitter from 6 to 7 p.m. MST.
Join Movember fundraising – growing your moustache on the month of November to raise awareness to men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men’s suicide. Movember is held annually by Movember Foundation who highlights in the importance of Men’s Mental Health.
Donate to HeadsUpGuys – an organization that campaigns to bring awareness to men who suffer from depression in silence. June 13, 2017 doesn’t just mark Men’s Health Awareness Day, it also marks the second anniversary of HeadsUpGuys.