The spread of COVID-19 has brought mental health into the spotlight. The growing awareness and worldwide acknowledgment have shown how important it is to talk about it today. Even though it affects us all, regardless of gender or age, there’s been a growing talk about men and mental health.
According to mentalhealth.org, one in eight men in England show mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, OCD, or panic disorder. But this is just a part of statistics that include the registered cases. Several cases go unreported, and many go undiagnosed, so it’s hard to know the exact numbers.
For those dealing with mental health problems, talking about it can seem scary. And when it comes to men, they have always been told to stay strong and be a man, which has imposed unrealistic expectations on men.
But changing times have brought attention to it, with many being vocal about it. Many male celebrities, influencers, and common people speak up against the stigma and make others aware of mental health issues. Now that people know how to ask for help and not be shy about it, it’s not too hard to predict the future of men’s mental health.
Are Mental Health Issues Different in Men?
When it comes to men’s mental health, it is no different from any other gender’s problems. There can be common symptoms, including anxiety, anger, irritability, and loss of control. And as per the statistics provided by mentalhealth.org, drug and alcohol abuse is higher in men while coping with mental health problems. Men may also show escapist behavior by focusing entirely on their work. These symptoms are common in both men & women and can be perceived as a plea for help.
There has been societal pressure on men to hide their feelings for ages
Men have always been taught to hide their feelings, not cry, and be tough all the time. They are supposed to be like soldiers for war, leaving emotions behind. This is why we can’t put expectations on them to open up about their feelings and ask for help. This opens the debate of setting different standards for masculinity than the current ones that are destructive. With changing times, men acknowledge these mental health problems, speak up about them, and step forward to ask for help. But this needs a lot of work as a lot of men still fear speaking up.
Symptoms of Anxiety & Depression in Men
Lost hope and sadness are perceived due to Depression. This, in turn, leads to anger, jealousy, irritability, and substance abuse. Apart from that, there can be physical implications, too, such as lack of interest, change in appetite, loss of energy, low sex drive, and restlessness. Whereas emotional signs may include persistent sadness, isolation, feeling guilty, and worthlessness. All these are clear signs of depression in men.
Anxiety, on the other hand, can do more than make your stomach churn. It can induce fear and worry that may hinder your work life and relationships with people. Physical symptoms of anxiety may include sweating, dizziness, insomnia, panic attacks, muscle tension, and racing heart.
Whereas emotional signs of anxiety include concentration issues, irritability, and a constant state of worrying.
Suicide Rate of Men
Mental health problems can create a barrier between you and your regular life. Sometimes it can lead one to dark corners where one starts thinking of suicide as an option. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s report, over 47,000 people in the United States died by suicide in 2017. It is the 10th leading cause of death.
As per the statistics, in 2017, men’s suicide rate was 3.5 times higher than women’s. The research also put light on how women attempted suicide more, whereas men chose lethal means of ending their lives. According to a WHO report, suicide contributes to half of the violent deaths in men worldwide.
How Men Are Tackling Mental Health Problems
It is always advised to see a doctor to get all the information needed about your condition and share your problems. This way, the doctor can discuss the plan of action to help you get out of anxiety and depression. These problems are like any other condition that requires treatment.
One of the treatments is to make changes in lifestyle, including spending more time outside, doing exercise, eating healthy, and getting enough sleep. These can help reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety. One can also reach out to a mental health professional who can provide you with the right therapy.
Dangers of Untreated Mental Health Issues in Men
Since men are less likely to reach out for help regarding treatment for mental health, it can be hard for them to cope with it. Avoiding or refusing to admit the symptoms of mental health problems can lead to problems. Like physical challenges, problems in relationships leading to divorce, or high chances of unemployment.
These problems can rapidly become intolerable and cause danger to a person’s life. This is when a lot of men choose to commit suicide.
What to Do if You’re Worried About Your Mental Health
In case if you are worried about your mental health, you can start by making small changes. This can include changing your lifestyle, being more active, eating healthy, and reaching out to the right people to talk about how you feel.
You can also try to reach out to a certified therapist with whom you can share about your mental health problems and get the right diagnosis. There can be times when you feel helpless and may even think about ending your life.
In such cases, always try to reach out to mental health care professionals who can help you get out of distressing situations. They will give you the best emotional as well as practical advice that can help you. Always remember that the right help and support can contribute to big changes in life.
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