Mental health is a big aspect of our lives that many individuals do not consider. As with the pandemic, mental health has had a larger focus. In particular, mental health tends to be attributed to women, but for men it is seen as a silent crisis. For men, there is a higher prevalence in suicide and substance use disorder as it can account for 75% of males while there is also a low rate of depressions being indicated from studies. In addition, approximately 30% of men use mental health services.
There are many reasons why men tend to use mental health resources limitedly, but one major reason is to how males are displayed in our society. The gender stereotypes display masculinity as someone who needs to be strong, stubborn and autonomous. Men believe that if they attempt to seek mental health resources it would portray them as weak that can have a large impact on their identity. As a result, with undiagnosed depression for an example, it can lead to decreased quality of life and limited social interactions that can be attributed to increased aggression, intoxication, drug misuse and potentially suicide. In Canada, one of the main leading cause of death in men between the ages of 10-49 is suicide.
In particular with men, some researchers have gone further to indicate there is an unrecognized “male depressive syndrome” as males often are less likely to acknowledge their symptoms. This is because women tend to “act in” when they are under the blue while men will “act out”. In this regard, men often respond by lashing their stress out by intoxicating themselves with alcohol, drug use or through taking high risk as they have limited impulse control. Compared to women, they tend to talk to someone or express their emotions more openly. With men trying to “act out”, it can lead them to face substance use disorder as they try to cope with their situation.
Some of the common reasons that lead people to face chronic stress include employment, family issues such as divorce, adverse childhood experiments or various life transitions that can take place. It Is important to understand that if you face chronic stress that is having an impact on your mental health, you are not alone. Many people tend to hide this as they don’t want to be portrayed weak in front of the people they know.
If you feel you are going through a challenging time, here are some tips to improve your mental health and wellbeing:
- Make sure you eat well and haven sufficient hours of sleep
- Take some time to exercise
- Spend some time with your family and friends
- Talk to people you trust about how you feel
- Do activities that you enjoy
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Written by: Shenen Sivakumar