Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month

June is Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to highlight the unique challenges that men face in seeking mental health support and resources. Every year, approximately six million men are impacted by depression; although, it often goes undiagnosed. In addition, ninety percent of people who develop schizophrenia are men. Just like with most mental health conditions, men with eating disorders and men who have experienced sexual violence are far less likely to seek treatment than women. More than four times as many men as women die by suicide in the United States, and one in five men experience alcohol dependency at some point in their lives. Even though men are experiencing mental health challenges at equivalent rates as women, what barriers are preventing men from accessing mental health care, resources, and support?

Barriers to Men Accessing Mental

Health Resources Men are less likely than women to seek help for mental health experiences due to social norms, downplaying of symptoms, and general reluctance to open up. Cultures struggling with toxic masculinity discourage men from expressing emotions other than anger, asking for help, or presenting in ways that could be viewed as weak or vulnerable. Nevertheless, all humans experience a vast range of emotions, benefit from the chemical release associated with crying, and deserve support when facing adversity or life stressors. It is vital to change the conversation around gender roles and mental health so that men feel safe to seek help, which will, in turn, prevent rates of suicidality, isolation, and violence in men.

Men’s Mental Health Risk Factors

There are a plethora of risk factors that can worsen men’s mental health experiences. Risk factors include but are not limited to social isolation, substance abuse, unemployment, military-related trauma, genetic predisposition, and other mood disorders. Low levels of testosterone in men are also correlated with depression, stress, and mood swings. Since there are a wide range of risk factors, it is important to approach mental health care holistically to assess for physiological and historical root causes, which can also help to erase stigmatization and shame.

Men’s Mental Health Protective Factors

Protective mental health factors can range from personal attributes and values to life circumstances and environmental factors outside of one’s control. Personal attributes and values might include upholding a positive outlook, adaptability, problem-solving skills, ability to manage stress effectively, and cultivating a sense of meaning or purpose in one’s life. Environmental factors can consist of having access to healthcare, community support and relationships, and existing in a safe and equitable society. Regardless of one’s life circumstances, it is important for mental health resources to be not only readily available to men but also encouraged in part of one’s preventative care. If you or someone you know is struggling, consider reaching out to Embrace Therapy for more information and support.

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