Mental health is a phrase rolling from tongues more and more around the world. Over the past couple of decades, it’s become increasingly more acceptable to discuss topics such as depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders.
This has led to groundbreaking discussions in terms of mental health acceptance and research. Every day, it’s more and more okay to not be okay.
But battling the ever-growing acceptance towards mental health discussion is a deadly stigma that stifles conversation around mental health and mental illness. Historically, words like “crazy,” and “psychotic,” have been used to describe those suffering from mental illnesses, and while that attitude has changed greatly over years of research and discovery,
According to The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), men died by suicide over three times more often as women. This alarming statistic, however, goes dangerously unrecognized, swept under the suffocating rug of, “bare it.” Despite suicide attempts by men being successful at an immensely higher rate than those by women, a damaging stigma around male mental health prevails, and kills any chance at conversation around the topic. While just as many men struggle with their mental health as women, they often seek treatment less. However, societal traditions and expectations leave men struggling to feel as though they have a space to speak on their own mental health, and in a world where struggling with mental health is still sometimes viewed as a “weakness,” it is difficult for men to accept their own vulnerability.
This is something that sorely needs to be addressed—it is a stigma that is killing people. But there’s no real way to fix the societal shame surrounding male mental health other than to break down the societal barriers that created it in the first place. If we desire to change the way the world talks about male mental health—which we should—it is vital we reconstruct the mindset with which we view male vulnerability and honesty. There is no shame in speaking about mental health.
In order to accomplish this, though, awareness needs to spread like wildfire, and there needs to be resources available to men struggling with their mental health. It’s critical that society understands and makes a conscious effort to undo the stigma currently stifling any chance at conversation around mental health, instead giving men a space to be open, and a space to feel heard. Because right now, so many people from so many different backgrounds are struggling with a mental health crisis, and everyone deserves to heal.