Today, efforts to raise awareness for mental health issues are stronger than ever. These conversations are beginning to change the narrative of how people view and deal with mental health issues. These efforts work to provide motivation for finding appropriate care, diagnosis, and treatments. While the goal is to provide more comfort, security, and courage to an individual in need of care, a majority of men remain apprehensive about seeking help for their mental health.
Part of the effort to help men learn to help themselves is to identify and address the unique ways men experience and express their emotional needs. It will also require men to shift their perspective from viewing getting help as a weakness to viewing mental health needs as a common medical issue. If you are a man in need of help but are apprehensive about seeking care, then let’s explore what you can do to overcome your hesitance and seek help.
Men Express Illness Differently
Studies suggest that gender not only affects one’s likeliness of seeking help, it can also determine the way you experience mental illnesses. Men with depression may express their condition through “masculine” behaviors. Furthermore, some studies identify women acting inward to express their emotions, while men generally act out through anger, impulsivity, and substance use episodes.
Studies also suggest that unhealthy behaviors such as using substances or having multiple intimate encounters may go unnoticed and even become a point of pride. Therefore, you might know that you are not feeling well, but you might not be able to identify the severity of your thoughts and behaviors. As a result, it can be more challenging to determine what is affecting you and make it much harder for you to show vulnerability when considering your mental health needs.
Social and material factors like social status, discrimination, and lack of access to therapy hold people of all genders back. However, men face unique barriers to getting support. There is much more stigma attached to mental health when it comes to men. Men strive to be strong and a person who others can lean on, but stigmas work to limit their ability to find and ask for help themselves.
Further, men with typically masculine traits are likely to experience decreased mental health and are less likely to reach out for help. For example, if you value self-reliance, you may be more prone to developing or struggling with mental health issues. If you value having power over your partner, you may be struggling with your mental health. The tendency to be stoic about suffering negatively impacts your health and prevents you from getting the right care. Men often hold the belief that being depressed, anxious, or stressed makes you a burden or weak, and the fear of looking weak or cowardly holds you back from helping yourself.
How to Seek Support
What it means to be “masculine” can take on many different meanings, and a big part of being a healthy male means being able to identify and express your feelings in healthy ways. Don’t let the stigma or research suggest that anyone who identifies as masculine will succumb to mental health issues. Today, there is much more support and opportunity to redefine masculinity and encourage a culture where men are okay to ask for help. At Choice House, we are working hard to provide a space that speaks directly to men’s needs to advocate for better mental health care and eradicate the stigmas and stereotypes that hold men back.
Building Emotional Resilience
Emotional resilience is necessary for dealing with the challenges that come with recovery and life. It requires maintaining good feelings about yourself, irrespective of the environment or challenges you face. Emotional resilience can grow in many different ways, including:
- Communicating: Staying connected with friends, family, peers, and professionals to express how you feel.
- Improving self-esteem: This requires you to view and treat yourself positively and honestly. You can use positive self-talk and avoid striving for perfection.
- Managing stress: Prioritizing your time to balance work, home responsibilities, and time for self-care is also essential for emotional resilience. It will also help you to ask for help.
How to Reach Out for Help
If you are going through a challenging period in your life, it is essential to remember that you are not alone. Try to view addressing your mental health issues in the same way you would treat a physical injury. It might feel intimidating, but it is worth seeking help–especially if you are uncertain about what is going on. There are many ways to reach out; you can talk with friends, doctors, or therapists. Talking with people you trust can provide you the comfort of knowing that you have a safe space to express yourself free of judgment. You may even find that the accessibility of online therapy can best help to treat your emotions.
While stigmas regarding mental health remain a barrier for men in need of help, new approaches to treatment and keeping the conversation going are showing promise in shifting the perspectives of many men. Today there are more options for men to seek appropriate care for substance use disorder and related mental health issues. At Choice House, we strive to meet men’s needs, including providing the care, comfort, and location to help men respond better to their treatment. Located at the base of the Rocky Mountains, we have the advantage of utilizing adventure therapy. Treatments such as adventure therapy, in addition to group therapy, have shown positive results in helping men overcome the barriers to attaining emotional balance. If you are currently struggling to balance your emotions or feel as if you have an underlying mental issue, don’t wait, the time to seek help is now. Find out more and reach out to us at Choice House by calling (720) 577-4422.