Globally, mental health receives so much stigma and men are found to be the ones most affected. This is because, in most cultures, grooming a man involves methods that encourage traits of stoicism. From childhood, men are told that showing emotion as a man is a sign of weakness. However, researchers and global statistics have proven that men’s mental health is a subject of great importance. In fact, at this point in time, men might be in need of mental health serves more than women.
Men are suffering and society still turns a blind eye. They are literally and indirectly dying from the stigma that surrounds men’s mental health and other stereotypes. In Zambian culture, they say “mamuna salila” meaning a man never cries. This has made it so hard for men to open up about their feelings and emotional and mental struggles. Boys are also raised differently from girls in terms of exposing their emotional vulnerability. While this teaches a man to be “strong”, it also denies them the chance to develop their emotional intelligence. They are often lost and in denial.
Most men will not admit to having a problem or being depressed because they see this as a sign of weakness. They grow up with this “masculinity” ideology that hinders them from facing or accepting vulnerability. They rarely admit to needing help.
Research has proven that men are more fragile emotionally than women. They are just groomed to hide their feelings better than women. They(men) are taught to;
- Be stoic – apathetic, self-reliant, independent and tough
- Be ashamed of their emotions
- Dominate (and when they are unable to, they retaliate or battle low self-esteem)
- Suppress their feelings
- Deal with issues by themselves and like a man.
Emotions and feelings cannot be suppressed or denied. They only build up and become a threat to your sanity and your very life! And the proof of this is in the statistics below. Most of these statistics have been compiled from Mental Health Foundation.
- According to WHO, suicide is responsible for over 800 000 deaths globally, and the number of men that die by suicide is 3.5 times more than that of women.
- Medical News Today says suicide is the second most common cause of death in males under the ages of 45. And the sith cause of death in men between the ages of 45 and 64.
- Men are 3 times likely to become alcohol dependent. They are also likely to become substance abusers more than women.
- 87 % of adults that report having trouble sleeping are men.
- Men are more likely to be workaholics than women
- Men report lower life satisfaction than women
- 95% of prisoners are male.
- They commit 86% of violent crime in comparison to women.
The importance of men’s mental health
Life has always been about money – unfortunately. But now, things have just gone crazy and wild, increasing the pressure that men face daily. In various cultures, a man is expected to be the breadwinner. On top of that, he’s expected to provide for his woman to some extents.
In most African settings, both man and woman may have a well-paying job, but the man is still expected to foot most if not all bills. And women have just become more demanding, sophisticated and costly. As if it’s not enough that the male species is facing so much pressure, he is not even at liberty of speaking out or being heard because “a man must be strong”. He is not allowed to cry out or show any form of vulnerability.
And when the pressure is too much or he fails to perform or deliver according to expected standards and malfunctions or gets depressed, he is labelled weak. Or not man enough.
It looks like every which way but loose for the male species. But we must not accept this because they may be male, but they too have feelings and have a right to develop that emotional intelligence. Oh, I’m a female by the way.
It’s time to break the stigma and realise that his feelings matter. If you have a man in your life, sometimes, be strong for him. Allow him to be vulnerable sometimes.
Learn how to make your man happy here and boost his self-esteem.