WHY DON’T MEN TALK ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH

  • Societal expectations and traditional gender roles play a role in why men are less likely to discuss or seek help for their mental health problems.
  • Just like how women are affected by expectations and stereotypes, it is important to understand that men can be damaged by stereotypes and expectations too.
  • Men are often expected to be the breadwinners and to be strong, dominant, and in control. While these aren’t inherently bad things, they can make it harder for men to reach out for help and open up. THEY ARE HUMAN TOO.
  • Some research also suggests that men who can’t speak openly about their emotions may be less able to recognize symptoms of mental health problems in themselves, and less likely to reach out for support.
  • Men may also be more likely to use potentially harmful coping methods such as drugs or alcohol, Road rage, etc, and less likely to talk to family or friends about their mental health.

DIFFERENCES IN CONDITION PREVALENCE AND SUICIDE RATES, WHY THE HIGH SUICIDE PERCENTAGES?

Women are more likely to experience mental health conditions than men. They are also more likely to attempt suicide.

However, men are more than 3.5 times more likely to die from suicide than women. This may be because they tend not to seek help or choose lethal methods of suicide. Men choose not to seek help mainly because of

  • social “norms”
  • a reluctance to talk
  • downplaying their symptoms

A National Health Interview Survey reports that just 1 in 3 men took medication for daily feelings of depression or anxiety, while just 1 in 4 spoke to a mental health professional.

Suicide was recorded as the largest cause of death for men under 50 in Britain in 2017. This may be because they experience many well-known risk factors for suicide: socioeconomic hardship, unemployment, relationship breakdown and lack of social support.

DIFFERENT INFLUENCING FACTORS

Men’s issues can develop from different causes and triggers than those that affect women.

For example, men’s issues often stem from societal expectations and traditional gender roles:

  • Being the breadwinners in the family
  • Display traditional “masculine” traits, such as strength and control
  • Rely on oneself and not seek help from others
  • Not speak openly about their emotions

Holding on to these traditional beliefs can negatively affect men’s mental health and keep them from accessing support and treatment.