The month of June is dedicated to honoring many aspects of life such as LGBTQIA+ Pride, PTSD Awareness, Alzheimer’s Awareness, and more. Yet, June also commemorates the importance of Men’s Health, and mental health is especially important.
According to National Today, “The official symbol for the month is a blue ribbon and the purpose of Men’s Health Month is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of diseases including cancer, heart disease, and depression.”
Unfortunately, men’s mental health is often overlooked and developed a negative stigma. Addressing this issue in a positive way brings people together and assists tackling mental health as a whole.
People should prioritize their own health and focus on what brings them joy and fulfillment. By taking care of their own needs and desires, they can cultivate a sense of happiness and contentment in their lives.
Too many men carry this weight and pressure to keep quiet about their own mental health. It’s hard to be vulnerable, but it’s not weak.
“Man up” is not the answer. Furthermore, speaking up about your emotions and thoughts is the most “manly” thing one can do. In better words, it’s the most humane thing to do. You are in control of everything you do; No one or anything else has any say in your life.
Click here for an infographic on male mental health by Mental Health America.
There can often be a great deal of guilt or criticism around those who struggle with mental diseases, and discussions about mental health are frequently stigmatized. Toxic masculinity can make it challenging, if not impossible, for men to open up about their mental health issues, which is especially true when issues of masculinity and mental health are brought up.
Men can often downplay their symptoms, stifle their emotions, and are less likely to seek help for whatever issues they may be facing because it is more socially taboo for men to talk about their feelings. But why does society enforce this?
According to JBWS, this may be because, “The societal pressure to appear tough may cause some men to struggle with an ability to express, describe, or distinguish their emotions. Known as normative male alexithymia (American Psychological Association), this difficulty expressing vulnerable emotions is a result of traditional masculine norms that emphasize toughness, stoicism, and competition.” Yet, all mental health is deserved to be talked about no matter what gender you are.
While there is no distinction between depression for men and women, common symptoms for males include irritability, quick and abrupt anger, increased loss of control, risk-taking and aggression at times. Not every male will experience these symptoms, but these are more evident in men than amongst women.
Now, expressing your feels is way easier said than done. It may be one of the toughest things in life that people needs an abundance of courage for. But, it can be done. It’s not impossible.
If someone expresses poorly to your emotions, that does not mean everyone will. Rough patches happen and that’s a part of life. Feelings are so genuinely important and define each individual from one another. Giving up and running away from problems is never the answer; it is more dignifying to face problems head on with a clean headspace.
Seeking treatment for mental health can be a challenge for anyone, including men. However, it is important for men to prioritize their mental health and seek the help they need. A good starting point is to speak with someone you feel comfortable with, can trust, and can guide you along the way if needed.
A primary care physician or mental health professional are options for discussing symptoms and possible treatments. Additionally, support groups and some online resources can provide a sense or community and understanding.
It is important for men to remember seeking help is a sign of strength and that mental health treatment can lead to improved overall health and wellbeing. This month, we recognize many aspects of life, but we also recognize Men’s Health.