We’re disregarding the stigmatization with respect to the mental health of men that prevents many of them from seeking treatment when they need it the most, and it’s killing them.
A lot of men believe that they should be “tough enough” to solve all of their difficulties on their own.
Men died by suicide at a rate 3.54 percent greater than women in 2017, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. In relation to Ghana the most recent value of suicide of men per 100,000 of the population is 11.8.
Mental Health America estimated that, every year, 6 million men in the United States suffer from depression.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and AlcoholismTrusted Source, 62,000 males die each year from alcohol-related causes, compared to 26,000 women.
In addition, men are two to three times more likely than women to abuse narcotics.
Men are considerably less likely than women to seek mental health therapy, despite the fact that depression and suicide are among the top causes of death.
The Stigma Men Face
Dr. Raymond Hobbs, a physician consultant with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan said that “part of it may be this macho thing.” “A lot of guys are embarrassed to acknowledge they have a problem.” Depression is still regarded as a sign of weakness.” He made it apparent that, this way of thinking is out of date, a relic of previous generations that doesn’t reflect contemporary medical knowledge of mental disease. “We now know a lot more and can distinguish the molecular changes that occur.” “Mental disease is similar to diabetes or any other physical condition in many ways,” he said.
However, as Hobbs points out, many people do not see it that way. Instead, they continue to view mental health issues as a personal problem and a lack of personal strength. Because of this, as well as the stigma that still persists around mental illness (not to mention the emphasis on males to always be strong), many men are hesitant to admit they may want assistance.
Men appear to struggle with more than just asking for aid.
According to research, some men have a tougher trouble making social bonds than women. The American Psychological Association has a podcast about how masculinity can be a mental health burden.
“When it comes to toxic masculinity, it really boils down to how males are raised up,” Hobbs explained. We are taught to be strong and quiet in this manner. Looking at classic John Wayne movies, that was supposed to be the model we were meant to follow. However, in many ways, it is a dysfunctional model.”
This model of masculinity may be why men are more likely to underreport symptoms of depression. But certain, more traditionally masculine traits can also contribute to increased rates of depression, according to research Trusted Sourcethat’s found both negative and protective factors to traditional masculinity.
When the negative impact is an increase in depressive symptoms, substance misuse can often follow.
“If men are less willing to ask for help, they will continue to experience the symptoms contributing to depression,” Levin said. “Drug use is often a maladaptive coping strategy.”
As he puts it, when people struggling with depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions aren’t embracing healthy coping resources, they may turn to alcohol and other drugs as a way to numb the pain.
Levin says a lot of men fall prey to the false idea that they should be “tough enough” to fix all their problems on their own. They worry that by showing vulnerability, even in the case of physical illness, they may lose their authority with others.
As a result, “They may believe they can fix this problem quickly and move on to the next — and they may be in denial that there is a problem at all,” Levin said.
Addressing that, and helping men work past it, requires first ending the stigma of asking for help.
“We can all foster more transparency around mental health and substance abuse issues,” Levin said. “No one is immune to stress. Talking with others about how it is affecting you can foster empathy, camaraderie, and support — all of which fight against the feelings of isolation on which addiction and mental health issues can thrive.”
Hobbs believes a lot of this comes down to education as well.
“We need people to realize that these are medical problems, that there are good treatments available, and that there is hope involved,” he said.
Hobbs also wants people to know that untreated mental health issues can very quickly manifest into physical ailments, especially when people are self-treating with alcohol and other substances.
“Cirrhosis, gastritis, bleeding problems, actual changes that occur in the brain: We need people to realize that there is a real physical downside to long-term alcohol abuse,” Hobbs said.
For Hobbs, awareness and education play the biggest role in terms of what can be done to help people as early as possible.
“You have to talk to your loved ones. There are all these wonderful options available that can help, but first they have to be willing to try them,” he said.