I know, a woman writing about men’s mental health, how patronising, right? Roll your eyes if you want, but stick with me.
So let’s get straight to the elephant in the room. There’s a lot of women writing for our blog here at Tyfy. We’re a totally inclusive community and it just so happens that more women than men choose to sign up. If you’d like to volunteer you can find me at firstname.lastname@example.org (I’d be super grateful) but in the meantime, it got me thinking. Maybe men don’t feel as comfortable taking our mostly-female advice. But the thing is, it doesn’t make a difference. We want to help as many people as we can, and well being is well being whoever you are – here’s why your mental health is no less important than anyone else’s.
Men’s mental health isn’t talked about enough
Come to think of it, mental health in general isn’t talked about enough. It’s becoming slowly less and less taboo, but we still have a long way to go, and its no secret that men can be more seriously affected by the silence. In fact, in 2015, 75% of all suicides were male – its the single biggest killer of men under 45. So men’s mental health is no less prevalent than women’s, and yet its not talked about nearly enough. 28% of men with mental health issues admitted that they had not sought medical help, compared with 19% of women. And why? I won’t pretend to know with any certainty, but I’d be willing to bet men are less likely to open up about their problems because of that one, old fashioned ugly little phrase…
You don’t need to ‘man up’
Little boys are taught from a stupidly young age that crying or showing emotion is a sign of weakness. I don’t mean to sound like a complete snowflake, but this genuinely does have an impact. Any conversation I’ve tried to have with guy friends about mental health usually results in a gruff laugh, a moody face and a quick change of subject. In fact, in my experience they’re usually the ones turning a conversation about how they’re doing into a joke.
Even those brief moments when you can get them to open up, they later regard as a show of ‘weakness.’ Sounds familiar, right? But the thing is, talking about mental health is really hard, and I genuinely believe opening up about your own is the bravest thing you could ever do. Even when you think no one else sees you or wants to help, I’m here to tell you that I for one definitely do. And if I do, there will be people around you who do, too. And on that note…
Where you can find help
My best advice is always going to be to talk to people. It really could be anyone: your girlfriend, your boyfriend, your best friends, your University. You should never be afraid to talk. But I get it can be scary showing people you know an entirely different side of you. So I’d also recommend looking up CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably.) They’re a source of support exclusively for men, offering information and advice on whatever you’re dealing with if you feel like you can’t talk to anyone else. You can call them from 5 pm- Midnight 365 days a year on 0800 58 58 58 or check out their website here.
Go read some of my other posts about managing mental health – you never know, they might actually help.
- Opening up about mental health
- A student’s guide to understanding depression
- A student’s guide to understanding anxiety
- A student’s guide to understanding eating disorders
- 5 reasons why you should stop saying ‘I’m fine’