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Why Don’t Men Cry? An Insight into Men’s Mental Health

by Harshita Parmar


With June being Men’s Health Month, this article sheds light onto men’s mental health, a topic that continues to be overlooked. The National Center for Health Statistics conducted a poll of 21,000 American men; nearly one in ten men have depression or anxiety, but less than half received treatment. This statistic is a direct result of the stigmatism around men’s health. Men believe they can’t show emotions, cry, and seek help because it might strip them of their manhood.



To what extent does mental health affect men?

Priory Group conducted a survey of 1000 men in 2015, after International Men’s Day, out of which 77% of men have suffered from anxiety, stress, or depression. Men are aware that their mental health negatively impacts work life, parenting, and even relationships, yet 40% of men stated that it would take suicidal thoughts or self-harm for them to even consider getting help. The reasons for men not speaking up about mental health include not wanting to appear weak, not wanting to burden anyone, being used to not receiving help or care, feeling embarrassed, and the stigma around men and their mental health. In the UK, men are more likely to go missing, use drugs frequently, and sleep rough. Additionally, men aged 40-49 have the highest suicide rates. Suicide is the largest cause of death for men under 50 years old.



Why are men afraid to seek help?

Mental health stigma is the direct result of lack of awareness, education, and gender stereotypes that have existed for generations. Men have been labeled as ‘the heads of their households,’ which put a lot of responsibility on their shoulders. Although that belief has been somewhat eradicated overtime, it has left a severe lasting impact: today, men feel they are expected to be strong, tough, and firm. This compulsion, to live up to society’s standards, also contributes to men not wanting to acknowledge and speak about their emotions so they can maintain their ‘manly image.’ Not being able to recognize their symptoms of mental health problems, or resisting receiving help and treatment, can cause damage in the long run, including not getting help in time resulting in extremely aggravated symptoms. In some cases, when men do recognize their emotions, they turn towards rather unhealthy coping mechanisms in an attempt to feel better, such as: alcohol, drugs, or keeping themselves extremely busy at work.



Symptoms and treatment of mental illness

Men and women can often experience different symptoms for mental illness, some of which include sadness, hopelessness, and insomnia. Other long-term behaviors that can potentially be more damaging include physical symptoms like headaches and digestive issues, alcohol and drug abuse, violent/abusive behavior, and risky behavior like reckless driving. Mental health treatment ranges from therapy, such as talk therapy and medication, to daily lifestyle changes. Prevention cannot be completely effective, but communicating with loved ones, managing stress properly, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can lessen the probability of having severe mental health issues.



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Thanks for reading the second article in our Men's Health week! We hope you gained a deeper understanding about mental health issues facing men, as well as steps that can be taken to help with improving mental health. If you liked this article, please check out our Hemophilia article, which focuses on a dangerous disease that disproportionately affects men more.


Thanks for reading, and please be on the lookout for our next Men's health article, as well as our Pride week coming up!


Until next time,

Harshita and the Writing Committee :)

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