Is There a Reason Why Mental Health is an issue among Men?

Typically, as a guy, I go to my general practitioner to get my physical and vital signs checked. I find it easy to talk about my glucose and cholesterol. However, there were down periods in life and I went to see my doctor and he recommended that I consider seeing a psychologist. Although I never went through with it, I was surprised with his recommendation and would have preferred to have been given a different option to manage my depression.

Although I am fine now, I want to mention a few reason that I learned were causing mental health issues to be prevalent among men in our nation. I recently learned that;

1) Many men fear admitting(unwillingness) that they have a mental health issue because of the stigma associate with the illness. This stigma can prevent one from seek help even from close friends or family members, for fear of being look down upon. Just image hearing people say that you got mental illness, or having your face pop up on a local news channel with "this man has been diagnosed with a rare case of mental disease". In my opinion, stigma carries with it the perception people will look down on up or we will be embarrassed, etc.

2) A second reason is the fact that we are men. As men, we are brought up differently but still want to integrate in our society. I have noticed that some guys tend to always think of themselves as being on top of everything; they tend to want to impose their views on others and try act tough in front of other guys. I personally believe that these attributes can cause us not seek outside help.

In conclusion, there are many mental health issues that cannot be dealt with alone. There are many sources out there, such as CDC, NIH, and others where you can find information on many mental health issues (symptoms, treatments, etc..). As men, we can reach out to close friends and family members, doctors and others, and you will be surprised at how much resources there is out there to assist you with your mental health issues.

Has your experience been similar?

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8 Replies

  • My Brother has a problem with schizophrenia, and as you have outlined he even refuses to accept that he has a problem. In order to reinforce this he has a woven around himself a world of fantasy. It is heartbreaking to see such a condition.

  • Happens all to frequently! Sorry to hear that.

  • As a college student, one of the greatest resources for mental health that my campus has is the counselor. My school has an office within the health department for students to schedule appointments with them (for free) and speak about whatever they want. I know, for one of my friends going through anxiety problems, it has been his greatest asset in overcoming his mental roadblocks. This is all confidential. Unfortunately, I do not believe it is advertised enough. Hopefully, there will come a day when ads to see a counselor/therapist will be as ordinary as ads to see your doctor for other health issues.

  • "Hopefully, there will come a day when ads to see a counselor/therapist will be as ordinary as ads to see your doctor for other health issues" is definitely the best way to put it. In essence, mental health is a topic that most people prefer to address behind the curtains. My question is, should we allow this issue to continue to hold men down and keep them from working at their fullest potential?

  • Well said. This is actually where role models and celebrities can be very useful. A global campaign headed by well known figures who have been through mental health problems would be really effective to break down this taboo - we've seen how effective this was in HIV/AIDS and this is not that dissimilar.

  • Alright!!!that s a great way to start. Celebrities are great source of inspiration for most people, they have loyal fans, and their efforts can easily engross other celebrities to join in and offer more support. I mean there were celebrities who, on the outside seemed perfectly fine, until when we found about what they were going throug. after we lost them(some struggled with their mental health issues and overcame them). So celebrity incolvement still an important way to maximize the effect of a message, whether it is raising mental health issues awareness or for something else.

  • When Robin Williams tragically passed away of suicide in August, some attention was temporarily brought to the issue of mental health, but now it seems to be forgotten. I know many people who have dealt with mental health challenges and avoided seeking help, especially my male friends. It's a lot more common then people realize. I think men are afraid of appearing weak if we are vulnerable about our struggles.

  • I was digging through this forum and found this. Basically, I have had experience of poor mental health 'officially' for the last four years now. However had informal and formal counselling of many forms thrust on me from around twelve years old. That's ten years ago now. All for various things. Yet the interesting thing is, I have sought help. Quite often. Often enough to have been disillusioned by the system. Basically, I've had psychiatrists turn me away, psychiatric nurses too. I've had times when I have been suicidal, and have presented at doctors and hospitals as suicidal and have been basically told it will blow over, they'll book me an appointment in two weeks or whatever. Essentially, quite often its been ignored. When I was an overdose risk, and when I was severely unwell and messing around with my medication (taking too much of one, none of another, etc) and this was known about, they just kind of said 'oh well'. My GP at that time had to make the decision to negotiate with my cardiologist at the time to actually put me on antidepressants, which I am still on now. So I don't think its as simple as any of this.

    There are lots more campaigns now, and lots more unconventional resources. All of which need to utilised by men. I know a lot of people who have found themselves in the same situation as me, some of them sadly lost their fight with mental health, and could not cope when they were (sometimes repeatedly) turned away from services. Which is tragic. I know some people who really beat themselves up, really think they can't talk about feeling bad mentally, in any sense of the word, because its unmanly. Its rubbish. its not unmanly to feel bad. That's one thing I learnt on this site - it isn't unmanly to want to talk about your problems, to recognise them, acknowledge them and battle with them to get to a better place.

    I mean hell, I am not perfect. Far from it. My mental health took a dip recently, and I am not fighting the upward haul to get myself back. Its tough, but then that's when I realised I am strong. Stronger than I have given myself credit for.

    So I don't think there's one answer. I really don't. There needs to be more awareness as to whats out there, beyond just what people think of initially. Like seriously, just relying on your doctor or mental health services in this day and age really isn't enough. They're under so much pressure themselves and the NHS is cracking, with it people are going to crack. You know, maybe think they ain't good enough when they are turned away repeatedly? I have thought that too many times, and its caused me to think 'you know I should do this on my own'. That's caused so many problems, because I've thought that I'm worthless cause I couldn't do it alone, and was weak.

    Then I realised it takes strength to talk and to use alternative resources. Ya know, to type into Google 'help for feeling suicidal' and all, and that unlocked a whole new world for me. So...

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