Recently, Mental Health America (MHA), a non-profit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental health issues, recognized June as Men’s Health Month. This is significant because up until now, men’s mental health issues have gone largely ignored.
Why is this? Because talking about mental health is easy in theory, but putting it into practice is a completely different battle. Individuals, especially men, hardwire their brains to avoid these difficult conversations.
According to MHA, 6 million men are affected by depression each year. And an even larger number suffers from anxiety, bipolar disorder and eating disorders. These startling statistics beg the question as to why men are less likely to talk about mental health issues and what are the excuses they use to avoid these conversations?
How Mental Health Stigma Affects Men
There are countless conversations around the idea that men feel the need to be strong, and so they hold back from sharing about their mental health. This is thinking that prevents men from feeling comfortable sharing something that they think will make them look “weak.” They see mental health as a personal struggle and vow to fight their battles alone.
These common stigmas around mental health are scary and, in some cases, dangerous. Below are some other common objections or excuses from men regarding their mental health:
1. “There is Nothing Wrong with Me”
Men are quick to dismiss that there is anything wrong. But mental health doesn’t have to necessarily mean that anything is wrong. It’s about acknowledging the value of working on mental health to live life in a healthy and connected way.
2. “My Problems are Too Complex”
The important thing to understand about mental health is that it’s not something to necessarily “fix.” It’s not a matter of being broken. It’s about taking steps toward improving issues and figuring out the root cause of any negative feelings.
3. “I Can Fix it Myself”
In some cases, this might be true. However, in most cases, it never hurts to have a dialogue and opinion from a trusted friend, advisor, mentor or therapist. Improvement happens by talking about mental health and dealing with it head-on.
4. “Talking About Mental Health Makes Me Weak”
This is a common theme among men. While it is impossible to control other people’s actions, it’s important to confide in someone who can be trusted with difficult topics. By seeking professional help, mental health can be discussed freely and without judgment.
5. “I Wouldn’t Even Know Where to Start”
Rehashing the past is never fun. That’s why it is vital to have a conversation about mental health with someone who can guide the conversation and keep it productive. Talking about the past or difficult situations in the present can be challenging and even painful, but it’s the best way to start the healing process.
It’s important to understand that sooner or later mental health challenges have to be dealt with or they spiral out of control, leading to additional issues. For example, it’s not uncommon for depression to trigger alcohol abuse to try to feel better. In fact, mental health disorders and addiction often go hand-in-hand, requiring dual diagnosis treatment to heal.
Unfortunately, stigma is a powerful thing that can keep men from seeking the help they need and deserve. But the more that men start to talk about mental health issues, the less of a stigma there will be surrounding it in the future. Use June as a jumping-off point for making positive improvements and starting the conversation about men’s mental health, no matter if you’re the one struggling or if you have a loved one in need of help.
Discover a New Life with Dual Diagnosis Treatment at The Raleigh House
At The Raleigh House, we don’t just treat substance abuse. With over 10 years of experience, we know that there is oftentimes a mental health disorder hiding beneath the surface, triggering substance abuse.
It is our goal to provide treatment and support to individuals with mental health conditions and addiction to heal the whole person. Through a gold standard continuum of care that includes evidence-based treatments and experiential therapies, we help men face their addictions and mental health issues in a productive and supportive atmosphere.
If you or a loved one would like to learn more about our addiction and mental health treatment approach, fill out our form or contact us today.