Mental Health

Men’s Mental Health – Reducing the Stigma

Mental health is a stigmatized topic for many men in our society. While it is a major public health concern affecting people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds, men are less likely to seek treatment, increasing their risk for chronic and serious health disorders

The StatsCan Canadian Community Health Survey on Mental Health and Well-Being found that 10% of men experienced symptoms of the surveyed mental health disorders and substance dependencies, compared to 11% of women. In the United Kingdom, studies of depression show a major shift in the traditional gender imbalance, with depression rising among men and decreasing among women.  

The greatest evidence of male vulnerability is in suicide statistics. Among Canadians of all ages, four of every five suicides are male.

The greatest evidence of male vulnerability is in suicide statistics. Among Canadians of all ages, four of every five suicides are male.

The Canadian Mental Health Association has stated that among research findings is the revelation that new fathers are vulnerable to postpartum depression. In Canada, young and middle-aged men are being hospitalized for schizophrenia in increasing numbers. The gender gap among people with mental illness is much narrower than might be suspected.”

According to the CMHA, one in every five Canadians may suffer from a mental health condition or illness in any given year. Anxiety and depression are two examples of mental health issues, as are bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. It is critical to recognize that mental health issues are not a sign of weakness and that they can affect anyone, regardless of gender.

When it comes to men’s mental health issues, they are more inclined than women to suffer in silence, which can lead to more severe and chronic mental health challenges and undiagnosed illnesses.

Reasons Men May Not Ask for Help

  • There is a societal stigma associated with mental health that can make it difficult for males to admit the symptoms they are experiencing.
  • Many men believe that seeking treatment calls their masculinity into question. This stigma is especially prevalent among older generations, who are more inclined to regard mental health as a personal shortcoming.
  • Men and women may have different perspectives on mental health. Men may regard mental health issues as a sign of weakness, or they may assume that they should be able to “tough it out” rather than seek treatment. The societal expectations of males to be tough, stoic, and self-sufficient can help reinforce this understanding.
  • Males may have specific circumstances that might negatively impact their mental health. Men, for example, are less likely than women to seek support when they are encountering challenges such as job loss, financial troubles, or relationship issues, all of which can be risk factors for mental health issues that might exacerbate the situation.
Men are less likely than women to seek support when they are encountering challenges such as job loss, financial troubles, or relationship issues.

Reduce the Stigma Around Men’s Mental Health

1. Encourage Open Communication

Men may be more inclined to seek help for mental health issues if they believe they can express themselves openly and without judgment. Create a safe and supportive environment in which men feel comfortable expressing their stories to encourage open dialogue.

2. Normalize Asking for Help

We must overcome the cultural stigma surrounding mental health for men and promote the idea that seeking assistance is a sign of strength, not weakness. Men must understand they are not alone in their challenges, and seeking help is both natural and good.

3. Encourage Self-Care

Men may be more prone than women to prioritize physical health above mental well-being. Encourage males to emphasize self-care activities such as exercise, healthy food, and proper sleep, which can all contribute to better mental health.

4. Encourage Social Connection

Although men are less likely to seek social help, social connection is critical for healthy mental health. Encourage men to connect with others through social activities, support groups, or volunteering, all of which can assist in improving their mental health.

Addressing mental health requires a nuanced understanding of gender-specific trends and challenges.

In Summary

Mental health is an important component of total health, and males are just as vulnerable to mental health issues as women. Addressing men’s mental health requires a nuanced understanding of gender-specific trends and challenges. As mentioned earlier, the StatsCan Canadian Community Health Survey on Mental Health and Well-Being reveals that 10% of men and 11% of women experience symptoms of mental health disorders and substance dependencies, underscoring the pervasive nature of these issues across genders. Similarly, in the UK, shifting patterns in depression rates indicate an increasing vulnerability among men, highlighting the need for targeted interventions. Reflecting on my practice, I’ve observed that men often face unique barriers to seeking help due to societal expectations and stigma.

We at Shelly Qualtieri & Associates are committed to offering men’s needs-specific, comprehensive mental health resources and support. By fostering an environment where men feel safe and supported, we encourage open conversations about mental health, aiming to dismantle the stigma that prevents many from seeking help. Whether through individual counseling, group therapy, or community outreach, our goal is to ensure that men have access to the care and resources they need. Through these efforts, we hope to create a more inclusive and supportive community, empowering men to take proactive steps toward their mental well-being and fostering resilience across all demographics.


Author

Shelly Qualtieri

MA, RSW – Trainer, Crisis & Trauma Resource Institute

To receive notification of a new blog posting, subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
© CTRI Crisis & Trauma Resource Institute (www.ctrinstitute.com)
Interested in using the content of this blog? Learn more here.

Share this:
Keep up to date with CTRI

Receive a free Trauma-Informed Care E-Manual!
Sign me up to receive info on: