A Silent Epidemic
Mental health is a vital component of overall health and wellness every bit as much as physical health is. Yet, it’s often overlooked in discussions surrounding men’s health in popular culture.
According to research conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), about 1 in 10 men report having experienced significant anxiety and depression at some point in their lives. However, less than half of those men reported having sought treatment for those feelings. Suicide rates for men are around 3.5 times higher than among women, and about 6 out of every 10 men report having experienced at least one significant traumatic event in their lives. In contrast, about 5 out of every 10 women report the same.
In addition, men are statistically much more likely to experience certain traumatic events such as motor accidents, physical assault, combat exposure, and responding to natural disasters. At the same time, women are more likely to experience sexual violence. Yet women are diagnosed with PTSD and other trauma-related disorders more than twice as often as men.
What is the cause of these disparities? Experts believe there are a variety of factors involved in explaining the differences not only between men and women’s different responses to circumstances and events that affect mental health but also their likelihood of seeking help.
Around the world, men are often taught from an early age, both through cultural referencing and direct parenting, that they aren’t allowed to be vulnerable. Damaging beliefs like the idea that men aren’t supposed to cry, always have to be tough, and shouldn’t ask for help unless they want to be seen as weak are actively perpetuated in popular culture and shape traditional views of masculinity. This can make it very difficult for men to admit when they’re struggling, even to themselves.
This culture of stigma encourages suffering in silence, which, in turn, can exacerbate the problems someone is going through even more and worsen feelings of isolation and depression. Addressing this issue starts with teaching men from an early age that it’s okay to be vulnerable and express their feelings. As more men speak out about their struggles and mental health—especially those in the public eye and in positions of authority—more men will see that it’s normal to go through difficult times and know they aren’t alone.
Tips For Dealing With Mental Health
Talking with a loved one or a trained mental health professional is one of the best ways to start gaining control over your mental health. Having a safe place or person you can talk to openly without fear of judgment provides a solid foundation to explore and deal with feelings in a healthy way.
Acknowledging our feelings is the first step towards managing our feelings. It’s essential to learn how to recognize and sit with your emotions so you can deal with stress and complicated feelings in an appropriate way. Consider picking up a mindfulness practice like meditation, yoga, or breathing exercises to help manage your stress levels day-to-day.
The expectations we place on ourselves can often lead to higher stress levels and a negative self-image when we fail to live up to those expectations. When we spend all our time trying to live up to unrealistic expectations, whether our own or ones placed upon us, we don’t leave room for the things that matter most. Instead, try setting small, daily goals for yourself that are achievable and serve a purpose in your life, such as exercising for at least 30 minutes every day, reading a chapter of your favorite book, or working on hobbies.
Life Adjustment Team
Here at LAT, we understand how hard it can be to go through difficult times on your own. We offer industry-best treatment and case management services for anxiety and depression in the Los Angeles area, along with comprehensive training and coaching programs designed to teach individuals to manage their emotions in healthy and constructive ways. Our Assertive Community Treatment model brings our Team to you, where you are, to help assess problems and come up with strategies to help you gain control over your mental health.
Reach out to our Clinical Team today to get started on your journey to “Learning To Live Well!”