Men's Mental Health

June is Men's Health Month. Of course, health covers many different aspects of our lives. One that gets overlooked too often is men’s mental health, so there’s no better time than now to shed light on this important issue. While mental health affects everyone, men face unique challenges and societal pressures that can hinder their ability to seek help and support while leaving them feeling stigmatized. This month provides an opportunity to raise awareness, break that stigma, and promote resilience among us.

Society often places unrealistic expectations on men, emphasizing strength, stoicism, and self-reliance. These cultural norms can discourage us from seeking help when faced with mental health struggles. The fear of being perceived as weak or vulnerable prevents many of us from speaking about our issues, about our emotions and seeking the support we need. Consequently, these unexpressed emotions can lead to various mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, uncontrolled anger, and substance abuse.

Men's Health Month serves as a platform to challenge these harmful stereotypes and encourages us to have open conversations about mental well-being. By raising awareness about the prevalence of mental health issues among men, we can normalize seeking help and promote early intervention. Community organizations, mental health advocates, and healthcare providers join forces to educate men and our loved ones about the signs and symptoms of mental health problems. This awareness can empower us to recognize when we may be in need of assistance, whether that is a conversation about what is going on in our life or point us in the direction of seeking help from a counsellor.

If you’re a guy that stuffs his feelings deep down, or tries his hardest not to get too “emotional” for fear of looking weak or vulnerable, then it might be time to take a second look at how you process and communicate your emotions. Do you typically think of the worst case scenario       that people will think you are weak or silly, maybe even dismiss you or  look down on you if you show your emotions or share your feelings? This rarely happens; more often than not, you will be heard and supported. Consider developing healthy coping mechanisms and self-care strategies, as they are essential in building resilience and maintaining emotional well-being. Engaging in physical activity, practicing mindfulness and meditation, maintaining social connections, and seeking counselling are all effective ways for you to manage stress and maintain your mental health.

For people who have men in their lives, be it a family member, friend, or co-worker, remember that a social support network plays a vital role in supporting men's mental health. By actively listening, offering empathy, and encouraging open conversations, you can help men in your life feel validated and understood. It is crucial to remember that supporting someone's mental health does not require professional expertise; it simply requires compassion, patience, and a willingness to lend an ear. Acknowledging that they are not alone in their struggles can make a significant difference in their journey toward healing and resilience. If they are in need of help from a mental health professional, they can reach out to Walmsley and get connected to a counsellor.

Men's Health Month has the potential to shine a much-needed spotlight on the mental well-being of men and strives to eradicate the stigma surrounding their struggles. By fostering awareness, promoting resilience, and providing a supportive environment, men can break free from societal expectations and prioritize their mental health. Let us make this month and every month an opportunity to support and uplift men, fostering a society that values emotional well-being for all.

Rob Baker MA RCC

Walmsley EFAP