One for the Guys

Men and Mental Health

I thought it was about time I wrote something for the other guys out there.  Something that I’ve noticed over the past few months is just how little men talk about mental health.  It’s almost as though there’s this tendency for men to keep it all in and avoid the subject.

I guess it comes down to feelings.

It’s something that we just don’t do, isn’t it?  Feelings and men…they just don’t seem to mix.  Call it a stereotype or whatever you fancy but I think it’s quite a real one.  We don’t talk about suicide, we don’t talk about depression, we don’t talk about feelings.  In a lot of circles, as far as I’ve noticed, it seems that we talk about sports or films or girls or anything except for our feelings.  Especially if we’re hurting, we don’t talk about that.

But why not?  For the most part, we seem to think it makes us weak.  If we are hurting or suffering some mental health problem, people seem to think we’re weak, so how much more will other men – who all have this underlying requirement to be “manly” and “masculine” – think we are weak?  For that reason alone, we don’t talk about it.

But we should.

A Deeper Look

According to the Office For National Statistics, roughly 76% of suicides are by men and it’s the biggest cause of death for men under 35.  Also, 12.5% of men in the UK are suffering from one of the common mental health disorders.  Moreover, we are three times more likely to become alcohol dependent than women.  This is 8.7% of men compared to 3.3% of women.  As far as psychological therapies go, men only make up 36% of the referrals.

Is this a problem?

I believe it is.

Men experience mental health struggles same as women, we just keep it hidden.  Check out this video where men are talking

Guys Get it Too

Really, guys do get mental health issues just as women do.  Admittedly, it’s probably a more archaic throwback to the times when depression was considered to be a women’s condition.  Another popular thought is that only women self-harm but I’m living proof against this.

I’d encourage you: if you’re a guy going through mental health struggles then please do reach out to someone.  It’s something that’s important, as we can only get through it together.  There is no shame in finding support.  Sometimes we need it.  We are all in it together, so let’s start talking about it, just as those people did in the video.

If you want to start talking to other people with mental health struggles, check out our forums for discussions or take a look at our useful contacts for some registered charities who can help.  Alternatively, take a look at Jeremy’s interview that will tell you about his struggle, or check out my journey to read the battles I face.  As always, if you want to chat or have any questions, drop me an email.

Take care!

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Become a PatronDisclaimer: I am not an expert, nor am I medically qualified.  This blog is based on my personal experiences only.  Always seek medical advice in the first instance.

Author: Alex Davies

Alex Davies is the creator and writer for Pushing Back the Shadows. Find out more about his journey here and connect with him on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

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