Mental health is a vital aspect of overall well-being, and it affects people of all genders. However, there are unique challenges that men face when it comes to mental health, including societal expectations, stigma, and barriers to seeking help. June is Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month. It is a wonderful opportunity for us to explore the importance of men’s mental health, the common challenges men encounter in our society, and ways to support them in their mental health journey.
Men’s Mental Health
Men’s mental health matters. Historically, our culture has perpetuated the notion that men should be tough, stoic, and self-reliant. However, just like women, men experience a wide range of emotions and struggles with their mental health, including stress, anxiety, depression, and even suicidal thoughts. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, in the United States, men die by suicide nearly four times more often than women. While it is evident that mental health issues affect men significantly, our society doesn’t always recognize and address this reality.
One of the significant challenges that men face in terms of mental health is the societal expectation of masculinity. From a young age, boys are often taught to suppress their emotions, be strong, and avoid showing vulnerability. This societal pressure can lead to toxic masculinity, which can negatively impact men’s mental health. The Anxiety & Depression Association of America tells us that “anxiety can also develop if children are not trained to manage their feelings appropriately,” which can then lead to further problems in mental health and relationships later in life.
Another challenge men often face is stigma. Mental health stigma refers to the negative attitudes, beliefs, and stereotypes associated with mental illness. Unfortunately, men may encounter stigma when discussing their mental health concerns. They may fear being perceived as weak, inadequate, or less masculine if they express their feelings or seek help. Stigma can prevent men from openly discussing their mental health and seeking professional support, which can exacerbate their mental health conditions.
So, how can we support men’s mental health? Here are four practical steps:
#1 Encourage open communication.
Creating an environment where the men in your life can feel comfortable expressing their emotions and concerns without judgment is crucial. Encourage open communication with the men you know, such as your partner, father, brothers, or friends. Let them know it’s okay to talk about their mental health and that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
#2 Challenge societal expectations.
It’s essential to challenge the societal expectations of masculinity that perpetuate toxic masculinity. Encourage men to express their emotions, be vulnerable, and seek help when needed. Emphasize that mental health is a fundamental aspect of overall well-being and that it’s okay for men to prioritize their mental health without feeling emasculated.
#3 Educate about mental health.
Many men may lack mental health knowledge or may have misconceptions about mental illness. Educate yourself about mental health, and share accurate information with the men in your life. Help them understand that mental health issues are common and treatable and that seeking help is vital to recovery.
#4 Seek professional help.
Encourage men to seek professional help from qualified mental health providers, such as therapists, counselors, or psychiatrists. Help them understand that mental health professionals are trained to provide support and guidance and that seeking help is not a sign of weakness but a proactive step towards self-care.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, plenty of treatment paths are available. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), medication, and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) therapy are some of the most well-known. Finding a treatment plan that works for you might take time, and what works for somebody else might not be the right solution for you. The important thing is that relief is out there for you, and the search is well worth the effort.
At Nashville Neurocare Therapy, we specialize in treating depression with TMS Therapy. TMS Therapy uses magnetic-pulse technology to activate centers of the brain that control and regulate mood and behavior and, often, are under-firing in depressed brains. This proven therapy can help jumpstart your brain’s ability to build and strengthen the neural pathways in these underactive parts of your brain, which will help your brain learn to regulate moods on its own. TMS Therapy is safe, comfortable, and is a 100% drug-free option to treat the root cause of depression, not just the symptoms.
Men who have had trouble finding relief from their depression with talk therapy or who find medication an unviable solution often succeed with TMS Therapy. If medication is not working for you, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) lists Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy as an ideal alternative treatment.
TMS Therapy could be the missing piece of their depression treatment plan. Contact our office to schedule a free TMS Therapy screening today.
About the Author: Dr. W. Scott West
Nationally recognized, board-certified psychiatrist, Dr. W. Scott West, blazed the trail for TMS therapy in Tennessee as the first physician to offer this advanced technology in 2010. With 30+ years experience in clinical depression, Dr. West leads the Nashville Neurocare team.
- Board Certified Psychiatrist
- Specialty: Certified TMS Psychiatrist since 2010
- Diplomate: The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
- Distinguished Life Fellow: American Psychiatric Association
- Residency: Vanderbilt University, Hospital Department of Psychiatry
- Medical School: University of Tennessee, Memphis, Center for the Health Sciences
- Hospital Affiliations: St. Thomas Hospital