Mental health has become a national crisis. There are millions of men and women in the US suffering from mental illnesses, but only a few of them actually get the help they need to overcome these challenges.
Of those few who do seek treatment, however, most of them are women. Men, on the other hand, chose to keep their emotional well-being under wraps.
They internalize their emotions trying to be tough and instead turn to unhealthy solutions like drugs, alcohol, self-medicating, violence, anger, and aggression.
Despite alarming depression statistics like 14.6% of men in Santa Barbara and even more on a national scale suffer from depression, there are still a lot of guys who’d prefer to suffer in silence.
Why Don’t Men Speak Up?
There are a number of reasons why men don’t speak up when it comes to their emotional health, but, for many men, it’s the fear of feeling like less of a man or weak.
From childhood, most little boys are taught not to express their feelings – especially those of sadness. They’re led to believe that such a vulnerability makes them weak.
So, when they’re feeling stressed, sad, overwhelmed, burned out, or suffering from physical problems like a low sex drive, they find a way to mask these feelings.
Another reason men don’t speak on their mental health is that they don’t want to feel inferior to others. Men are taught since they were boys that they’re supposed to be strong, tough providers and leaders of their household.
For them to let down their guard, be vulnerable, cry, or allow themselves to feel would make them weak in the eyes of their wives and children. As the provider and leader of the household, therefore, they press on despite what they’re feeling.
Dangers of Not Getting Help
In an effort to not feel less of a man, inferior to their counterparts, vulnerable, or weak, most men will keep their problems to themselves, or turn to dangerous vices and behaviors as a means of coping.
These “remedies” may provide temporary relief, but it doesn’t resolve the underlying issue. Unresolved mental illness can lead to consequences that can include:
Worsening symptoms – When you don’t treat mental illness right away, your chemical imbalance will remain off resulting in more severe problems and worsening symptoms.
Long-Term physical problems – The mind and body are connected in ways you may not realize. When you’re depressed, stressed, or anxious, it not only changes your mood or emotions but alters your body. You might experience pain, headaches, erectile dysfunction, digestive problems, and more as a result of your mental illness which will only get worse as time goes by.
Relationship Issues – You may think that you have things under control. However, the truth is that when you’re suffering from mental health problems, everyone around you suffers as well. Whether you’ve stopped having sex with your wife, reduced the amount of time you hang around the kids, or snap at your coworkers for nothing, eventually, those people will feel the impact of your internal pain. This could ruin your relationships in the long-run.
Life Issues – When you don’t feel well mentally, it will trickle into every aspect of your life. Suddenly,you’re isolating yourself, spending money on vices instead of paying bills, calling out of work more frequently, and more which can result in you being homeless, jobless, and alone.
Being “a man” doesn’t mean that you’re so tough and strong that life and emotions never get the best of you. It means that you’re adult enough to manage your physical and emotional well-being and speak up when things aren’t right.
Don’t let stigmas like being weak, vulnerable, or less of a man cause you to suffer in silence. Instead, reach out to someone and let them know you need help. You’ll be more of a man because of it.