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Articles > Mental Health November, 14, 2016

MENtal Illness: Is It Manly To Have One?

Jack Luck
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9.68 / 10

There are many issues today which we all talk about, like politics, physical health and financial issues. There is one issue, however, that is not talked about enough; an issue which needs to be confronted. That issue is the problems surrounding men’s image and mental health.

Sepia image of depressed looking young male

Photo by Marius Dollinger

Society constantly pressures men to uphold images of masculinity, which have led to many of them remaining quiet when struggling with the turbulence of mental illness. 78% of suicides in 2013 were carried out by men, according to the Mental Health Foundation, but the same source also stated that women are more likely to be diagnosed with a common mental health disorder. But what does this mean?

Men are afraid to get help due to the image and stereotype which society creates for them. They are forced to look strong and emotionless, and if they don’t they are typically bullied or seen as abnormal. Therefore, instead of talking about their issues and problems, they let them spiral out of control until they perceive there to be no other option but to end their lives. The issue of male suicide needs to be confronted by the NHS and the UK Government to prevent this crisis worsening.

“instead of talking about their issues and problems, they let them spiral out of control until they perceive there to be no other option but to end their lives”

To turn things around, the government needs to invest more money in early intervention for mental illness, because many men are not offered the support they need until they reach crisis point. Improvements could include having fully-trained counsellors at every school, college, university and local surgery to create more options for men and adolescents.  This would enable them to readily find help when they need to.

Even though things can be done to improve how male mental health is treated, the stigma surrounding it will remain. Educating children all over the UK about mental illness, and what they can do about it, can help make mental health something much easier to talk about. Breaking down the ultimately unfathomable pressures placed on men in today’s society can help us all move closer to making male mental health something to confront.

If anyone reading this article is struggling, or knows someone who is, there is help available. I urge anyone to talk about their issues with someone close, and to make an appointment with a GP. There are also many options available if you don’t feel like you can see someone in person. If you’re under the age of 18 you can call Child Line, who can guide you to recovery.


If you or anyone you know is feeling suicidal or are struggling with emotions and mental health, talk about it:
Child Line – 0800 1111
Emergency services – 999
Samaritans – 116 123

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  1. Chatlotte

    I couldn’t agree more with this article. There is definitely a huge stigma surrounding mental health, especially men’s mental health.
    I’m not sure whether that stigma is imposed by a society that expects men to be “strong” and unemotional, undoubtedly that was the case years ago, but that seems to be changing slowly over recent years. I’d guess that a lot of it has to do with the way men communicate with each other, they don’t like to appear to show “weakness” (i am not suggesting that those who suffer with mental health issues are weak, far from it, they are strong enough to keep fighting). i mean, if they won’t even admit they’re lost and ask for directions…can you really expect them to tell someone they’re suicidal? I think raising awareness of the issue is definitely important, and encouraging people to be more open and honest about emotions and mental health would be a big step to helping those suffering, and helping them to realise they are not alone.

    I can’t speak as a man suffering from mental health issues, but as a 19 year old…whilst most of my close friends have been supportive, i have also experienced firsthand the misconceptions and stigma surrounding mental health. My mother refused to listen and has convinced herself that i am “just stressed”, and i have been asked “what do you have to be depressed about at your age”. In my opinion, it’s comments like these and miscommunication that make it difficult for people to seek out the help that they need.

  2. Abbie

    Everyone should feel comfortable talking about their mental health. Men shouldn’t have to feel embarrassed or less manly just because they have problems like everyone else. Society make men feel like it is wrong to say how they feel because it shows that they are weak and are unable to cope with life. This is totally unacceptable, as a person that has her own mental disorders and who has many male friends with mental disorders, I will say that everyone should be accepted for who they are and shouldn’t be pushed into the dirt because they aren’t like ‘normal’ people.

  3. Aditya Chandrasekhar

    I think that the root cause for any mental/physical ailment is the inability of your mind to take instructions from you ,in other words your own intelligence acts against yourself.If you had control over your thoughts,emotions would you keep them peaceful or miserable? ofcourse peaceful right?
    But people are using their mind hapazardly….I want you to understand that the human mechanism is the most complex mechanism in the world every other mechanism has come out of this.There is a scientific and logically correct way to give a stable base/foundation to the intelligence we call the mind..and this is called yoga it essentially means you are in charge of your faculties.. by regular yoga you will start to experience happiness once again for sure take my word and give it a shot !!!!!