The topic of men’s mental health has faced social challenges for decades. Due to a number of factors, many men still struggle to talk openly about mental wellbeing. Societal stigmas around mental health have accelerated these communication barriers. So, what are the most common issues men face today and what can we do about it? Read on to find out.
What Do The Stats Say?
According to Mental Health America, 1 in 5 men are diagnosed with mental issues every year. (1) Data also shows that men are more likely to experience alcohol and drug dependence than women. Furthermore, nearly 78% of all suicides are committed by men. 2
The reality is that mental health issues do not discriminate against gender. Men can suffer from mental illness symptoms just as much as women. Therefore, recognising that men are equally vulnerable to mental disorders is crucial to reducing the high prevalence of illness among this gender category.
How Can We Improve Men’s Mental Health
1. Recognise The Tendency To Hide Emotions
Studies show that whilst women are more likely to express sadness when upset, men tend to conceal their feelings by becoming irritable or aggressive. (3) Being disconnected from these emotions can delay seeking help and receiving appropriate support. It’s important therefore, to encourage emotional communication amongst men as well as women.
One way to do this is by practicing vulnerability and expressing how we feel. Talking to a friend, encouraging others to open up, and staying in touch with family can be helpful ways to create support networks. If you find it difficult to open up to a friend or relative, mental health services such as charities or counselling lines can help. Charities like Mind and Samaritans can help provide support and a safe space for individuals to open up about their struggles.
2. Create A Support Group
Social support has been shown by research to be a highly protective factor against emotional distress.
Support groups can help men to communicate their worries, ask for help with personal matters or simply express temporary emotions. The sense of being accepted and included makes a huge difference in our ability to cope with daily stresses and challenges. One way to enhance men’s sense of belonging is to contact online groups whose mission is to bring men together in a community. There are various online and offline support groups available, such as The Good Men Project and Men’s Group. Getting in touch with these resources shouldn’t create any embarrassment or fear since these organisations exist to help vulnerable people.
3. Maintain A Healthy Routine
Physical health and mental health are closely connected. Studies now show that physical movement and nutrition play a crucial role in our mental wellbeing. It’s important to eat a healthy diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, proteins and healthy fats. Exercise is key too. Strength training, running and yoga can be especially beneficial for our body and mind.
Routine should also be a key aspect of basic self-care. Adding structure to your day allows us to build in alone time, organisational activities and social plans. Daily structure helps us feel in control of our lives and being active throughout the day helps our sleep cycle to remain consistent.
Mental health amongst men should no longer be a taboo subject. From support groups to nutrition plans, there is a whole host of things we can do to maintain mental wellness. To learn more about this topic, take a look at the articles below: