By Natalie Luci
Photo by Chloe Masys for UP Magazine
Almost 40% of men between the ages of 18-25 received mental health services in the past year and roughly 1 in 10 men suffer from anxiety or depression at some point in their lifetime. Movember is dedicated to spreading awareness about several health-related topics for men, one of them being mental health.
It can be extremely difficult for so many who are suffering to open up and express their emotions or hurt. Whether it be your brother, dad, boyfriend, best friend, classmate, or yourself, there are ways to fight back and provide support, because the most important thing to keep in mind is that it’s okay to not be okay.
There is a stigma around mental health that is evident to all of us, yet specifically with men’s mental health there is oftentimes an even greater shame or dishonor that is placed on this group of victims. The term toxic masculinity gets thrown around a lot, but this concept poses a dangerous impact on men and their self-acceptance. Those traditional characteristics of strength and “manning-up” can force men to hide their feelings of struggle due to humiliation and shame.
UP Magazine’s latest FW issue covers this topic more in depth and features valuable insights from two Miami University professors with doctorates in child clinical and developmental psychology. The article, written by Grace Killian, reveals that it’s actually more societal norms and standards, rather than genetics, that affect the way individuals express their emotions. It furthermore states “The expectation for men to suppress their emotions has evolved into a belief that men can’t be sad or upset without appearing weak or like less of a man.”
So, what can you do to help your loved ones suffering? The first action would be accepting and embracing their emotions. People tend to have a stereotype around men that they must always be tough, masculine, reserved, and unexpressive. This standard needs to be disregarded in order for them to know their feelings are valid and respected.
The most important step to take- stomping out the stigma that surrounds men’s mental health and mental health in general. Spreading awareness and educating others, as well as yourself, about the information and facts around the topic will allow us to become a more welcoming and accepting society and consequently, come together to support one another. No one should ever have to suffer in silence; more unashamed conversations need to be on the horizon.
Reclaim FW 2021 Digital Issue:
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