Why men don’t talk about their mental health

Our society lacks empathy, and as a consequence, a lot of people don’t open up and talk about their issues. We lack empathy for others because we are too engrossed in our own lives. Talking about mental health is a taboo, and it isn’t something that is very openly discussed, thereby making it one of the most misunderstood health issues. Many young celebrities like Avicii, Chester Bennington (Linkin Park) have committed suicide due to mental health issues. Suffice to say, poor mental health is a global issue.

According to the latest statistics by NIHM (National Institute of Mental Health), the suicide rate among men is four times higher since the last report of 1999. The reason behind these rising number of suicides is their underlying mental health condition. Men prefer dealing with stress on their own rather than expressing it or talking about it.Men usually opt for other ways like anger, aggression, violence, self-harm, drug abuse and the likes. It can be challenging for men to talk about their mental health issues because of the misguided advice they get in their early years. “Masculine”, “Tough Guy” “Reticent” are some of the very common tags that become too difficult to live up to. They think they can deal with it on their own as talking about seems embarrassing, and a sign of weakness.

One out of five men suffers from mental health problems, and it is a very common issue to occur in both men and women. Furthermore, men who suffer from mental health problems are more likely to experience substance abuse, personality disorders, and exhibit suicidal tendencies. Some of the very common physical as well as emotional signs of a mental health problem can be exhaustion, loss of appetite, restlessness, loss of sex drive, alcohol and drug abuse, feeling sad or nervous, being isolated, feeling of guilt and hopelessness, violence and anger, suicidal feeling etc.

If, as a friend, colleague or family member, you notice these signs in your male cohorts, reach out to help, as they might not be comfortable talking about it at first. If you genuinely want to help, they will open up.

What is the solution?

• At the outset, it should be recognised as a social issue as much as a health issue.

• Secondly, the health department should create specific strategies to improve the measures that work towards improving mental health.

• Raising awareness and involving communities & influential people to motivate and help people talk about it.

• Men should be influenced and motivated to talk about mental health issues, as it is not a shameful thing.

• Clearing the myths around mental health issues as it is a serious concern.

Over the years many male celebrities have come forward and talked about the issues of mental health, and how they reached out for help, and this has encouraged and inspired men who are still suffering in silence. Every individual’s mental health varies throughout their lifetime, but letting it hamper our happy times is not a good idea. If you have decided to talk about it, be open, honest and face it. Effectively managing your lifestyle, with significant support from your loved ones, and a professional’s consultation through therapy, will help you come out of it and perform at your best. It’s the only way we can help one another in society.

It’s never too late to consult a therapist or professional a life coach. They can help you learn some cope up strategies, that can guide you through the stormy clouds of depression, anxiety, panic attacks or any other grave issues related to mental health. If you take the plunge and move forward towards a solution, you will feel positivity and strength in yourself, and this will be the first step towards fighting mental health issues. It’s time we really talk about it.

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First Published: Feb 05, 2019 16:00 IST

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