While the stigma around mental health is slowly changing for the better, many people still struggle with speaking out and getting the help they need. This is especially true with men, who face their own challenges with mental health and working towards recovery.
Many men remain unaware of the warning signs that their mental health is deteriorating and are hesitant to seek any type of treatment. In this article, we’ll explore the obstacles that men face when dealing with their mental health and why it remains such an issue.
There has long been a social stigma surrounding mental health that is slowly being broken down. However, there remains a long way to go and it is a tremendous factor in why so many men fail to admit they need help.
Unfortunately, the outdated idea that mental health struggles are a sign of weakness and something to be kept to yourself has trickled down from previous generations.
Men are made to feel as if they are flawed if they have to lean on others for support, so they are more likely to suppress their emotions and allow them to fester and grow.
Not seeking help
Due to the existing stigma, men often fail to seek professional help or support from family and friends. Many bulk billed doctors provide high-quality, ongoing mental health support for Australians, yet this service remains underutilized by so many who need it most.
Despite suicide being one of the leading causes of death among men, they seek treatment for depression at a much lower rate than women. In Australia, up to 50% of men who say they’ve experienced depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts within the last 12 months never reached out for professional help.
Traditional gender roles paint men as highly resilient, dominant, and strong individuals who provide for their families. Although the narrative surrounding masculinity is beginning to change, many men still feel pressured to adhere to these standards.
Due to these outdated stereotypes, men often find themselves told to “man up” or “get over it” when they share any personal struggles. This is a huge contributor to why men hesitate to seek help when they need it, as they can be made to feel like a failure or somehow less of a man.
It can also be the cause of mental health issues, perhaps if they are struggling to provide financially for their family or as their body and physical endurance begins to change as they age. Men are more likely to think less of themselves if they meet the outdated idea of a “real” man.
When men fail to face their mental health struggles, it can often come out in other ways. Unfortunately, one of the most common ways it can manifest itself is through anger and violent outbursts.
Depression and other mental health issues can often be difficult to recognise in men, due to their temperaments. While women who are suffering from depression often appear sad and down on themselves, men can instead appear angry and irritable. This can be due to society not equipping them with the tools to deal with these emotions, and so they instead express it in the only way they know how: violence and aggression.
Studies have shown that men arrested for domestic violence have an extremely high prevalence towards depression, PTSD and anxiety. This mental health struggle poses a threat not only to men all around the world, but to those closest to them too.
Extreme suicide methods
Although women are more likely to suffer from mental health problems (or at least report it) and attempt suicide, men are 3.5 times more likely to die from suicide than women.
This is since men tend to choose more violent, extreme ways to attempt suicide. Women on the other hand were more likely to use pharmaceutical drugs or exsanguination.
If you are struggling with mental health issues, contact the Lifeline on 13 11 14 or make an appointment with a bulk billed GP today.