November, which we know as Movember with a little wordplay, actually takes this name from Men’s Mental Health Month. Although it may seem like a humorous approach, November’s focus on men’s mental health is actually quite meaningful and serious.
Originally focused on prostate and testicular cancer, November has expanded its scope to include mental health as a vital aspect of overall well-being. Organizations like Mental Health America are pivotal in devoting an entire month to men’s mental health, guiding conversations, sharing resources and inspiring positive change.
It is often more difficult for men to share their emotional worlds than women due to their social roles. So to raise awareness and encourage open conversation, Men’s Mental Health Month reminds us that mental health is important to everyone.
Why is Men’s Mental Health Important?
Men’s mental health concerns are often overlooked or stigmatized, leading to a lack of awareness and support. That’s why addressing these issues is important and providing resources for men to seek help when needed.
Social expectations and traditional gender roles often place pressure on men to suppress their emotions and not seek help for mental health concerns. This can lead to long-term negative effects on men’s mental health and well-being.
What are the Symptoms of Mental Disorders in Men?
Symptoms of mental disorders in men can vary, but there are common warning signs to look out for. These symptoms may include:
- Physical symptoms with no apparent cause, such as digestive disturbances or headaches
- Depression characterized by feelings of sadness, hopelessness, extreme tiredness, changes in sleep patterns, and a loss of interest in activities
- Anxiety, which may present as excessive worrying, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, and irritability
- Substance use disorder, involves the misuse or dependence on alcohol or drugs
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), is marked by flashbacks, nightmares, hypervigilance, and avoidance of trauma-related triggers
- Bipolar Disorder, featuring episodes of mania (elevated mood, increased energy) and depression
It is important to note that these symptoms may manifest differently in each individual, and a qualified healthcare professional should make a proper diagnosis.
Only 7% of Men Prioritize Their Mental Health
A recent survey shows that it is often more difficult for men to share their emotional worlds than women, resulting in only 7% of men prioritising their mental health.
The results that emerge are quite remarkable when we divide the mental health issue into two men and women. Here, we can say that there are differences in the problems experienced by gender, as well as in issues such as coping with them, asking for help or asking for professional support.
Men, like women, experience various mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. The fact that men do not share their inner world as much as women do is seen as a factor that increases their tendency to substance addiction. However, societal expectations and traditional gender norms often discourage men from seeking help, leading to significant disparities in mental health outcomes. That’s why Men’s Mental Health Month is so important to break down barriers and encourage men to prioritize their mental health.
During the men’s mental health month, various health resources and organizations work tirelessly to improve men’s mental health. Notable in this regard is the National Institute of Mental Health in the USA, which conducts extensive research on mental illness and seeks to improve mental health treatment options for both men and women. Their efforts contribute to scientific advances and ensure that mental health support is accessible to all.
Men's Mental Health Month: Challenges Men Face
It’s essential to acknowledge men’s worldwide challenges, especially during the post-COVID period. The pandemic has led to unemployment and adjusting to home life, which can add social pressure on men.
Men’s mental health is a topic that cannot be overlooked, especially in the post-COVID world. The pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges, including unemployment and adjusting to a new lifestyle, which can significantly pressure men. Noticing these challenges can make a great impact on men around us, like our partner, brother, father and friends.
According to BBC, suicide is still the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45. This is one of the biggest reasons to emphasize the importance of men’s mental health, by adressing underlying mental health condition to prevent tragic consequences.
Depression and anxiety are common mental conditions that men often avoid and don’t seek help, due to social norms. Men’s Mental Health month creates a safe and supportive environment that empowers men to speak up and seek treatment, contributing to their overall well-being.
Jason is a great example of someone who prioritized his mental and physical well-being by attending a mental wellness retreat at TheLifeCo, despite being a father of three. By unlocking the stress cycle and participating in this retreat, he was able to relieve and relax. His experience is a great example for those who consider embarking on a similar mental wellness journey.
How to Take Care of Your Mental Health
If you’re a man looking to improve your physical and mental well-being, a retreat designed specifically for men could be just what you need. With a focus on male-specific issues, these retreats provide access to professionals who can help you manage stress, increase energy levels, and improve overall health. By joining a community of like-minded men in a supportive and safe environment, you’ll have the opportunity to learn skills and techniques that will benefit you long after the retreat has ended.
Through bringing awareness, access to resources, and open conversations, we can create a society that supports the mental well-being of all individuals. Let’s use Men’s Mental Health Month to advocate for change and prioritize mental health for both men and women.
Frequently Asked Questions About Men's Mental Health
Many men believe that showing their emotions is a sign of weakness. Research indicates that men who cannot openly discuss their emotions may have a harder time recognizing their internal mental and physical health issues. Talking about men’s health problems can aid in early diagnosis and treatment.
Gender expectations influence mental health conditions along with social norms. Additionally, gender affects risk factors, access to treatment, and treatment approaches, highlighting the importance of considering gender for providing more effective and gender-sensitive mental health care to individuals.