As we celebrate International Men’s Day, there's a lot to consider about men's mental health. The stronger sex, as they say, might not be how you imagine it to be.
Research studies across the globe depict men at an increased risk of battling depression and anxiety compared to women. They are rarely given the space or sensitivity to talk about mental health. For what can be looked at as an alarming call, suicidal ideations are also twice more prevalent among women, than men (Statista.com). The reasons aren't too obscure to scan. Bogged down by social stigma, varying symptoms, and lack of mental health education are seemingly the driving factors for men to suffer silently. Perhaps, it's not too manly to “man-up”, when deep down all you want is to cry on somebody’s shoulders. In this post, we mull over why men’s mental health is not to be ignored as a thing that doesn't exist. "KYUNKI MARD KO DARD NAHIN HOTA" ‘Men don't feel any pain’. Says who? The society. The Bollywood dialogues, besides celebrating the fervour of being a man, packs in fine sentiment that eulogizes the patriarchal spirit and patronizes things at their worst. After all, who knows it better than a man how to bear emotional castrations day after day, year after year, and still be numb about it. From an early age, men are brought up to pose strong against all hardships, wipe their tears dry, and hide their sufferings under plastic smiles. Those failing to do so are often rebuked in the name of gender. This social stigma has not only led men to accept abuses and still feel good about it but also label their silence as a tale of sacrifice.
Also Read: Why Do I Feel Sad For No Reason? Either by direct parenting or cultural referencing, men have been taught to believe that it's never a good idea to have way too many emotions. Luckily, over the recent years, men's mental health has gained recognition and garnered some form of interest. Thanks to the ongoing activism and several celebrities speaking up on the issue sharing their own experiences. People like Michel Phelps and Shawn Mendes believe vulnerability can't be subtracted from masculinity, it's primal, like hunger or sex, for instance. FEAR OF JUDGMENT. One of the primary reasons men don't ask for help is the fear of being judged. They feel if they turn vocal about their mental issues, society might reckon them as stupid or weak. Men must understand that their struggles are as significant as anybody else's, and it's time they give themselves a fighting chance by opening up on things like never before. Once they do so, they will learn how easier it is to live and that there’s a lot to enjoy about life, rather than hiding emotions and contemplating on it. SEEKING HELP IS WORTH THE EFFORT. Although men are reluctant to seek professional help for their issues, finding one can make a difference. Sure, there’s a fair share of trial and error, but tell you what, it's worth the time spent. One might think to himself, “what can a therapist possibly tell me that I am not aware of?” Well, you see, getting help professionally means you seek the company and expertise of mental health specialists who have been studying and spending time attending to hundred others coping up with similar issues. Naturally, they are good at what they do and can introduce one to a new perspective of handling things and steer you on the road to recovery. For some, an insight into recovery stories of others works wonders, while in some cases, it takes more than that to enhance lifestyle and general well-being. No matter how mild or severe your problems are, there’s always a way to seek happiness. With an able mental health expert by your side, you might be able to walk on that path a whole lot earlier, a whole lot easier. Have been struggling to open up without any respite? Do you relate to everything that you just read about? Well, then quit waiting. Act now. It's time to be a “man” again. It's time to be “human”.
If you or you know someone who might benefit from any professional assistance you can reach out to experts at Manoshala
Ipsit Roy, Writer/Artist. Manoshala
Bhavya P, Counselling Psychologist, ManoShala