Firstly, let’s get this out of the way—the foundation for why men need to join in on the conversation about mental health is simple. They are a part of humanity. Mental health is a critical conversation to be had in general.
Getting back to men specifically. They’ve been dealt a rough card when it came to transitioning into a modern era where mental health is valued even in places like the workplace and school. While these are positive things, there is a legitimate reason as to why integrating the idea has been difficult for men. Societal stigmas about emotion and masculinity cloud the conversation of mental health.
Why Now is the Time
Now in history, men have the opportunity to completely shift how mental health is regarded and discussed within the male arena. Those who identify heavily with their masculinity are no longer subject to the mass judgment of limiting belief systems.
This opportunity is ripe, and men everywhere are taking it, including celebrities and other influential faces.
Why it’s Hard—But Necessary
For those who are not so lucky to have a platform and open support behind them, the conversation about mental health can be intimidating. Men who feel that the discussion does not or cannot relate to them is a tragedy because the facts are stifling. Men account for more than half of the suicide rate, and this is with many cases going underreported.
For Those Struggling to Come Forward
There are fathers, sons, brothers, and friends out there battling with mental illness without any awareness to truly grapple with it. These men need support but are not asking for it. There may be a variety of reasons, both behavioral and cultural, but the fundamental principle is that they are not coming forward.
For this population of men, the conversation can make or break the ability to seek help.
For Those Who Don’t Know Their Friends Need Help
If men are an inclusive part of the conversation about mental health, they may experience difficulty in identifying when the fellow men they care about may be struggling. Even if they feel that something is not quite right, they may experience trouble in addressing it. This can cause tension on both parts and ultimately affect a relationship negatively. If the conversation was mainstream, there would be more ease in asking a friend if they need help.
For Those Who Want to Support their Partners
Men who are married or in relationships may experience the desire to help a partner who is having a hard time with mental health, with no understanding of how to help. They may shy away from the prospect out of fear of making things worse, or even more detrimental—if they feel they are irrelevant or removed from the conversation.
The conversation needs to be had, gentleman. For gentleman, by gentleman, because men are gentle too. Learn more about starting the conversation by downloading our free men’s health guide.