Stigma Surrounding Men’s Mental Health
This Men’s Health Week, I wanted to write about a topic that is close to me and affects 1 in 4 people: Mental Health.
Even though we have progressed in the sense that we are a lot more understanding and informed on mental health in general, men’s mental health often gets overlooked and even downplayed with phrases such as “Man up” and others not suitable for this blog.
As a man myself, I had always thought I should be mentally strong and not show any “weak” emotions such as empathy and compassion. This mindset has taken a long time to shake, due to my upbringing and societal pressure, and I decided to take control and change by getting help from therapy and medication. Now I’m finally able to share how I feel and very willing to talk about it publicly. This makes me feel stronger than when I bottled it all up.
Here at A New Normal, we are a majority female team, meaning we are not surrounded by false bravado daily. This has enabled me to be able to be open about things in my life. I also asked my male colleague what he had experienced.
“I’ve never really had much of an experience with terminology or stigma, mainly because I’ve always been quite private about my feelings. I’ve also, on reflection, never really trusted my family or close friends to react in a way that I feel would be helpful. The A New Normal Team know me as a coach, and that drives a belief in me that no one needs fixing, they just need help to find their answers. Unfortunately, despite all the best intentions, most people want to try to fix others. And that is the last thing I ever need or want. Hence I have kept my feelings private. So, for me, it’s not so much about stigma and more about the unhelpful reaction I feel I will get.
Some of my friends would also absolutely be in the “man-up” camp. I’ve heard this behaviour from them, and we all come from an age where feelings weren’t discussed. I have one “friend” who has been very vocal about the “mental health card” that he feels people play these days. This is mostly in reaction to those in the public eye, such as sports people or other celebrities. This is despite his brother reminding him that their Mum suffered from poor mental health.”
This Men’s Health Week, why not ask other men in your life how they are doing and always make sure to ask them twice.
If you or someone you know is struggling, here are some options for you to reach out to.
· Samaritans: Contact a Samaritan, Phone Number: 116 123
· MIND: Get Help Now