Suffering in Silence – Men and Mental Health

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Men’s mental health has often been ignored due to worldwide societal values that not only devalues the pressure men face, but also demands them to be resilient. As a result, men often quietly suffer from mental health concerns and have seldom reached out for help.

SOCIETAL PRESSURES


According to Reem Shaheen, Adult Counseling Psychologist, recent research has shown a dramatic increase in men’s mental health status with a rise in depression and anxiety. “For
men having feelings is a sign of weakness and experiencing symptoms of depression or an anxiety attack is often viewed as a source of shame,” she tells, “they feel condemned by society for having these struggles, hence they often resort to numbing those
emotions and experiences.” Substance abuse, violence against themselves or others, and other forms of self-harm are just a few of the many methods men resort to while coping with their mental health status.

THE CRUX OF THE PROBLEM

What is being ignored is the causes for the deterioration of men’s mental health. According to research, the most common reason tends to be the societal pressure experienced by men to provide, to achieve, and to succeed. When any man is faced with challenges to achieve these goals, Shaheen explains that he experiences shame. “Shame, is defined by Brenee Brown, Social Work researcher, as the fear of disconnection and many adult men are living with this fear,” she says. Many worry and dread that their true self will be uncovered, leading them to try to pretend. They mask the required role of strength, resilience, and power when in fact, they feel lonely, isolated, and ashamed. In the United States, recent efforts have been undertaken to encourage men to face their struggles and provide
them with the needed support from society.

COPING MECHANISMS

Consequently, Shaheen points out that it is crucial for men experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety, or noticing any dysfunctional behavior to try some of the following remedies—one is to reach out for help from professionals to explore possible reasons for the difficulties. Next, connect with family, friends, and loved ones to express to them their feelings. Also, join a support group dedicated to assisting with those struggles. And finally, it is important to remember that feelings of shame derive their power from secrecy, hence finding a medium to open up about those feelings and circumstances leading up to them can be the best way to let them go.

YOU CAN HELP SOMEONE WITH ANXIETY OR DEPRESSION:

• Let them know if you’ve noticed a change in their behavior.

• Spend time talking about their experiences and let them know you’re there to listen without being judgmental.

• Suggest they go to a doctor or health professional, and help them make an appointment.

• Encourage them to get enough sleep, to exercise, and to eat well.

• Contact a doctor or hospital if they become a threat to themselves or others.

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