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.
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