Men’s Mental Health

Men's Mental Health - Breaking the Stigma and Promoting Wellness

This week the spotlight is on Men’s Mental Health. An area that is all too often hiding in the shadows. An issue that affects many, but is often unspoken, unacknowledged, and under-reported.

So how did this happen?

We know that there are many unhealthy stereotypes and standards surrounding what it means to be “a man”. To be “tough”, “strong”, and to provide for others no matter the cost. You may have heard common phrases such as “man up”, “suck it up” or “eat a tablespoon of concrete and harden up” which reflect this very issue.

Maybe you have even heard these words of “advice” when you were trying to open up to someone.

Therefore on the flipside, speaking about emotions or hardships may be seen as weak and or a failure against these standards. This can create a fear of judgment and or shame for even having struggles in the first place.

Because of these factors, men often quietly suffer in silence, or put off – or may never – seek help. Whether that’s from friends, family, or a professional, we know that men are less likely to speak up.

Okay so we can’t “just get on with it”… Why is this such a problem?

We know that over 75% of those who take their own lives are male. 

We also know that suicide is the leading cause of death in males under 45 years of age.

Furthermore, those who identify as gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex are at higher risk of suicide and are four times more likely to have attempted suicide.

I really want to help, what can I do?

You may know you disagree with these stereotypes and want to make a change. While social shifts in attitudes take lots (and lots!) of time, we know that even small changes can have huge effects on these issues.

You can start by checking in on your mates by asking how they are, or share with them any observations about how they are coping that have made you concerned. 

While you may be worried that asking about self-harm or suicidal thoughts may increase someone’s risk of suicide, we know this is a myth now. Speaking about these topics openly is incredibly powerful and the first step to someone getting help. 

By listening closely and giving them your full attention, you can help them feel safe to open up and more hopeful about making changes.

If they do confide they are having an issue, it’s important to encourage them to take action. Whether that’s to do something immediate to improve their mood, like going for a walk, or encouraging them to get professional help such as from a crisis service (LifeLine, Beyond Blue, Suicide Callback Service), these will all make a difference. 

Lastly, it’s all about following up and checking in with them regularly about their action plan/s to feel better. 

Keep in mind that if you also have the courage to speak up, this can inspire and move others around you. Through moments of vulnerability and deep trust we build closer relationships with those around us and break through stereotypes.

What about professional help?

At Mind Up, we are all committed to breaking the stigma around male’s mental health, and provide a safe, non-judgemental environment for you to share in. We are trained in working with many common difficulties that men are facing today, such as family and relationship difficulties, workplace and financial stress, anxiety and depression, suicidality, substance issues, loneliness and social isolation, anger management, trauma, and grief.