As this blog is largely about speaking out against stigma this is an area I felt needed addressing…
Media and society tells us we should be many things, for example men are often portrayed to be strong, independent and never emotionally vulnerable. This makes it hard to suffer with mental health problems which could make them feel incredibly vulnerable or weak. They may end up choosing to suffer in silence out of fear of judgement, instead of speaking out or sharing their concerns.
Here are a few facts on men and mental health:
- Just over three out of four suicides (76%) are by men and suicide is the biggest cause of death for men under 35
- 5% of men in the UK are suffering from one of the common mental health disorders
- Men are nearly three times more likely than women to become alcohol dependent (8.7% of men are alcohol dependent compared to 3.3% of women)
- Men are more likely to use (and die from) illegal drug use
Mental health struggles are not a weakness and should not be seen as such. Sometimes we all need help, for whatever reasons and we should never feel ashamed for asking for that help.
There is concern that men are less willing to seek counselling than women. So, why is this? Experts agree that it is likely to be a combination of factors, from society’s expectation of ‘men’ to a desire to solve one’s own problems.
Mental health charities and the media have looked to change the stigma surrounding mental health and particularly the stigma of asking for support. The truth is, all of us need the support of others at some point in our lives – regardless of gender.
Here is a link on a discussion regarding men speaking out about mental health: Time To Change