The topic of mental health has been floating around a lot lately, due to many astonishing events happening in recent times and prominent people opening about their mental health status.
But, why must we wait for something to happen before opening up a debate on it or to normalize it. Let us make one thing clear right off the bat, having a mental health issue is not a sign of weakness but an unavoidable health condition that can affect anyone at any point in life.
While speaking about mental health is stigmatized, it is even more disturbing when it comes to men’s mental health. So, in this article let us understand the 9 reasons why men don’t talk about their mental health, with an idea to educate you and normalize it, so that either you might find it helpful in taking the next step or might lend your hand to someone who terribly needs it.
1. Men are meant to be tough
This is an age-old expectation attached to men. Society tells men that it is not acceptable to break. Right from an early age, men are taught, either through cultural references or by parenting to not cry or suppress their feelings and be tough.
It is imbibed into their minds that vulnerability and masculinity do not go hand in hand. They grow up with this incorrect notion and do not let anyone know that they need help. Thankfully, we see this starting to change.
2. Awareness campaigns do not target men or in the right way
Due to the above reason, mental awareness campaigns need to separately target men to make them understand the need to open up or get help.
Even if an awareness campaign is targeted towards men, it needs to be done in a way that the campaign strikes a chord at their level. For example, studies have shown that Men respond to campaigns that use dark humor rather than a softer mental health language.
3. Insecurity of being the only weak person
While men do not seek help due to many reasons, insecurity of being the only weak person among a group makes it even more complicated for them to open up. With this, they do not open up in spite of realizing their need for help.
This eventually manifests into physical ailments like self-destruction and indulging in alcohol and substance abuse.
4. Not knowing where and how to start
Few men take the bold step of acknowledging their feelings and requirements, like the need for help, however, are stuck with not knowing what to do next.
They contemplate between approaching their close friends, parents, or even a therapist. But, they do not take that step fearing how they might be judged for opening-up
5. They don’t want to be that casual “I am depressed” guy
Sometimes we hear people casually throwing around the phrase, “I am depressed” over minor setbacks in life. The problem with casually using this phrase is that it creates a misunderstanding and stigma around major or clinical depression.
There is a whole lot of difference in thinking that you are depressed and actually being it. If a person is just not able to get out of his bed, it might be due to plain laziness. A depressed person, on the other hand, needs to fight his way out of an endless void just to begin another tough day. This is a difference we must understand.
Eventually, we unknowingly undermine a genuinely in-need person’s call for help.
6. Fear of not getting what they expect
It takes a lot of effort for men to acknowledge their need for help. However, they refrain from opening-up due to the fear of not getting what they need or worse get disappointed.
Nothing is worse than taking that heavy step to ask for help and not getting it in return. It can also be their overbearing expectation to be comforted, eventually leading to disappointment.
7. Not having a partner to share feelings
Most men are comfortable in confiding with their partners. They find it easier to open up with the opposite sex. It is also a matter of trust when it comes to sharing with their partners.
However, this is a problem if they are single. This, along with their state of mind only deteriorates their mental status further with the increasingly empty feeling of being alone or not having a person to share.
8. Tired of hearing the routine
More often than not, when men open up, they are constantly barraged with seemingly motivational comments like work hard to get over it, do some good old soul-searching, and the golden ‘time heals all wounds.’ While they might be true and do work, it won’t mean squat to people troubled with major depression. Even if it does work, it might for a short period of time.
9. Men ask for help differently
Both men and women face similar mental health symptoms, however, the way men manifest that feeling and display symptoms are completely different from how women do.
Women display signs of depression by appearing sad, disheartened, or unworthy, whereas, men display it in the form of anger, irritability, impulsivity, frustration, and other anti-social behavior.
Some of the above points apply to women as well, given how mental health affects an individual is quite similar to all genders. While women are more prone to depression than men, it takes a lot more effort for men to acknowledge and take the next step.
We believe now you understand the various reasons why men find it hard to open up. If you are such person, do consider approaching for help. Always remember, opening up and taking help is your first step to recovery.