Sep 27, 2023 | Mental Health

Normalizing men's mental health.

Normalizing Men’s Mental Health

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Everyone is impacted by mental health issues. However, it is often overlooked in men as they are typically less likely to seek support or speak openly about their struggles. Whether they feel insecure, or less masculine in doing so, a stigma surrounding this topic remains attached. So, today, we would like to chat about a few things we can normalize to help improve men’s mental health.

Asking for help

The Canadian Men’s Health Foundation reports that approximately one million men suffer from major depression in Canada each year. Additionally, men tend to not use available mental health services, with statistics finding that only around 30% of people who use mental health services are men. Anyone struggling with mental health can feel isolated and even more so for men who struggle with asking for support with sadness, anxiety, or depression.

Having a support system is crucial, especially to encourage men to speak up about their mental health struggles.

Some ways in which you can support a man facing a difficult time can include the following:

  • be present
  • talk openly about emotions, and ensure his feelings are validated
  • be patient and non-judgemental,
  • encourage him to seek the help of a professional
  • don’t try to ‘fix’ him, or the situation
  • create a safe space for him to speak, free of shame or embarrassment

The younger men learn that they don’t have to “man up” in situations and are taught that their feelings are valid and normal, the more likely they will continue to speak up as adults.

Going to therapy

In some cases, men don’t consider themselves to be mentally unwell, which makes it challenging to recognize that they need support from a medical professional. Problems often surface in ways that look different from women, and men often report that the source of their issues are related to things like stressful jobs, financial worries, conflicts with their partners and concerns about their children. Since symptoms in men can manifest in ways like anger and aggression, they often don’t recognize that they are depressed, or dealing with anxiety.

Encouraging your loved one to seek professional help isn’t a sign of weakness. Rather, it is one that should be acknowledged as strong and brave.

Showing emotions

We have all heard the outdated phrase, “boys don’t cry.” However, as we continue to educate ourselves about mental health, and as the world continues to evolve, we know this is not true. It is, indeed, okay for boys, and men, to cry. Expressing emotions is a healthy way to process your feelings. In hiding emotions, it is much more difficult to cope and seek support.

A 2014 review points out that crying is considered a self soothing behaviour as it activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which can help your body to relax after experiencing stress. By suppressing your feelings, you don’t give yourself a chance to experience them.

If you, or a man in your life is struggling, there is help available.

It is important for everyone to feel seen and heard. To accomplish this, it is key to understand and respect the feelings of others, no matter what. Emotions are often difficult to work through, but with the right support system, and proper resources there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Learn more on this topic

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