Helping Men Live Their Best Lives –The Stigma in Men’s Mental Health
Psychology Lead, Ms. Christina Burmeister, provides an in depth look at the importance of men’s mental health along with possible causes and effective management.
“Many studies have stated that men are less likely to talk about and discuss their mental health issues as compared to women, which essentially worsens their state”
This has led to an increase of mental health conditions and problems, making it one of the most common conditions to occur in men worldwide.
Creating awareness of men’s mental health is extremely important. Often men think they must be strong and deal with problems on their own which is not the case. In most cases, men don’t know how to ask for help when they are suffering emotionally, as many of them were not taught to. It is necessary that we shed light on mental health in men to help them speak up and openly talk about their issues.
To begin with, understanding the causes and factors that have led to the increase in men’s mental health issues is essential to help treat and manage the problem.
Men were often not taught to speak about difficult problems that stress them out, making them feel like they are supposed to be able to deal with them on their own. This is due to the fact that most men have not learned to ask for help and they may not know how to. Men tend to want to seem strong and not being able to handle a situation on their own makes them feel weak or “less of a man” which is a notion created by many cultures.
When it comes to the family dynamic, men tend to be the pillars of their families, thinking that as the “man of the house”, they must be strong at all times to support everyone, which is not the case. To be able to support everyone, it is important for men to support and help themselves first.
“In my experience women are more open to speaking about their emotions. Women grow up speaking to each other about their feelings and what they are going through, men deal with their emotional issues differently. Additionally, they are often taught, early on, to be strong and not to cry or be emotional. Men’s emotions are not that different from women’s, however they simply find difficulties expressing them, as they are afraid in fear of seeming weak.” Psychology Lead, Ms. Christina Burmeister at Al Zahra Hospital Dubai.
Men have similar mental health problems and symptoms as women. They can be depressed, feel anxious, have panic attacks and suffer from eating disorders. Men and women tend to experience emotions the same way, however they deal with them differently, with men typically trying to ignore that something is wrong, for longer than women.
When men are going through a lot of stress, it can lead to burnout which can then lead to depression, panic attacks and anxieties. Men who ask for help have often been struggling for quite a while, trying to hold it all together, not recognizing symptoms such as changes in behavior, eating and sleep patterns. They try to deal with the symptoms in conventional ways such as exercising more or partaking in more damaging behaviors such as smoking and drinking, in an attempt to handle the situation on their own.
Any man who is ever worried about his mental health, should consider speaking to their loved ones or to a psychologist. Additionally, when visiting a psychologist, everything that is discussed remains confidential and safe, taking their time to ensure that all their patients feel the utmost comfort and trust. A psychologist will only speak to another professional if they are worried their patients may harm themselves or someone else.
Many usually believe that seeing a psychologist leads to change in one’s personality, however that is not true. Sessions with a psychologist, only teach you to practice better habits and behavior which enhance your quality of life and your mental health, helping both yourself and your loved ones. Moreover, therapy requires numerous sessions to initiate improvements in one’s mental health, it is not a quick fix.
Men are usually afraid to see a psychologist, believing that people only speak to psychologists when they are mentally ill and worry about the stigma. Speaking to a psychologist is a lot like speaking to a good friend and a psychologist will never judge. In recent years, things have been shifting globally, with men being more open about their struggles. If a man ever decides to go to therapy, it is important to remember that he is still strong and brave as well as getting one step closer to wellness.