The Stigma Around Male Mental Health
Elayne is 18 years old and is in her final year of sixth form. She decided to get involved with Student Life as she likes the idea of students sharing their stories, and hopes to be a part of it.
When you first hear the word mental health, what do you immediately think of? Do you think of a man? Or do you think of a woman, suffering from an eating disorder or going through depression? It is said that 1 in 4 women will require treatment for depression compared to 1 in 10 men, so the differences regarding men’s mental health and women’s mental health are there and are very real, but there are other factors that have to be taken into account.
Man up. Act like a man. Don’t be a sissy. There is this silent rule in our society that says men who show emotions or open up, are weak. They are looked down upon and laughed at. In fact, there are more social factors that put women at risk of poor mental health than men, but at the same time, women are more open to talking about their feelings, thereby balancing this fact. The more they talk about it, the easier it is for diagnosis and treatment to take place. This is a message that needs to be echoed not just to women, but men.
The stigma surrounding male mental health needs to be cleared before our society tattoos it, and a straightforward way to do so? Get rid of the rule that romanticises men who are stoic and unemotional. Mental health is a real thing. It affects more than just the individual, it affects families, relationships, education, regardless of the gender. This is why men’s mental health should be as important as women’s mental health.
In 2013, 6,233 suicides were committed by people aged 15 and over, in the United Kingdom. A staggering 78% of the suicides were committed by males, while only 22% of the suicides were committed by females.
Without recognition and support, these numbers will not change. Mental health is already important, there should not have to be an article written, reminding everyone about the importance of men’s mental health. Mental health is mental health, beyond age, beyond culture, beyond race, beyond status and most importantly, beyond gender.