It is true there are many stigmas around mental health regardless of gender even in 2021. As a society we have come a long way from the Victorian chosen methods of dealing with any type of mental health issue by locking people away in an asylum.
However, whilst great improvements have been made, we still have a long way to go, in my work I see that it is still frowned upon to be mentally ill, if people are sympathetic, that sympathy seems to dry up rather quickly compared to a physical issue.
A good deal of my time is spent giving free talks to educate people differently. One of the gender areas where there is still much work to do is men.
Men are of course seen as the stereotypical alpha male, the protector, the stronger physical and therefore stronger mental gender, being a tough hard guy, no room for emotions or feelings, being viewed as namby pamby if you cry or are not coping.
It’s all nonsense of course, we know that, but it exists, nevertheless. There are schools of thought that these standards start early when young boys are told that they are the man of the family, being told that it is being like a girl to cry, that they need to man up.
Men feel an inordinate amount of pressure to keep their feelings under wraps and don’t always feel they can voice their concerns to their friends in the way women seem to be able to.
Whilst 1 in 4 adults in the UK will suffer from some form of mental health issues, 1 in 8 men have reported mental health concerns and of course these are only the figures that have been reported, what isn’t disputed is the growing suicide rates in the 45 – 54 male age group which are alarmingly high, as much as three times more men die from suicide compared to women, nearly three quarters of adults who go missing are men and men are three times more likely to turn to alcohol and drugs to self-medicate.
Thankfully, quite a bit of money has been invested into getting men to talk, more needs to be done. Men still feel a failure if they seek help. They feel less of a man.
When I’m giving talks, the men in the audience find it reassuring to know that they don’t have to be referred through their GP to see a private therapist, there are safeguarding considerations but assuming that your issues fall outside of this, no one ever has to know.
This allows men to take charge of their treatment, they also have the choice of seeing a male or female therapist further adding to the choice.
I say, regardless of your gender, if you need help, you need help, there are many, many routes that you can take to seek help, do your research and give them a try but please seek help.
Let’s get this straight, it is absolutely ok for men to talk about their feelings and emotions, and if I see one man that by seeing me, it stops adding to the suicide figures then I am really happy, please men – let’s talk, my consultations are free of charge.
I’m here, ready when you are.