Today, we are more aware than ever about the importance of mental health awareness. Helping men to change their mentality, though, is a long-term battle. How do we get started?
For much of human history, we have found ourselves looking at the world through the lens of gender-specific norms. Many of these have led to damaging and unhealthy attributes being passed down to people of all ages, classes, and personalities. This issue, though, has become a serious problem because, in the modern world, we have only just started to become aware of mental health awareness.
And while today we are better than we were a few years ago at talking about how we feel, many males still suffer from the same problem: an inability to be open about how they think. Today, we know that the stoic attitude seen as ‘the male way’ has hurt men’s mental well-being. Many males are taught that if they show emotion, they are ‘weak’ or similar negatives.
However, as we now know for a fact, this is not the case whatsoever. Males are just as likely to have emotional issues that need to be spoken about and faced head-on as a female. In fact, for males who have lived their lives not looking closely at their mental well-being, they likely feel worse!
As a mental health advocate, I have seen many males in family and social circles break the stigma. It has given me immense pride to see the many stoic men in my life who have become open-minded about talking about their problems. I have always seen them as strong: now, I see them as stronger than ever because they are honest enough to admit their fears, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities.
How can males break the stigma and improve their mental wellbeing?
Of course, breaking the stigma of men’s mental health will not be easy. It is going to be a long-term and time-consuming process and, yes, difficult. Many males might find it hard to accept the issues they face in life or the fact that they are even facing problems in the first place.
It is my belief, though, that offering most men access to help would be the most important first step. Many stay within their inner bubbles, never addressing their fears because they do not know where to turn. Showing them the existing resources through expert support, professional help, and charitable aid can help them realize that their mental health can be corrected. That they can be better.
That they do not have to live life miserably, many men face a sense of inner shame when they reach out for help because they feel as if it makes them weak or ‘unmanly’ in some way or another. Thankfully, more awareness will help males to snap out of that problematic thinking and opinion.
Finding resources is going to be very important to helping males overcome these stressful feelings and this inability to tap into their emotions. From providing resources to simply being there to listen, we can do so much more to help the males in our lives understand that help is not only beneficial but also essential.
As society changes and adapts, we can remove the stigma of seeking help and looking to self-improve. We can help men to realize that, in general, there is nothing wrong with being wrong. And, crucially, there is nothing weak about asking for help.
This is a battle that will take years, even decades, but the more males we can convince today to seek out help, the easier it will be to persuade others in present and future generations to do the same.