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Male Mental Health

Updated: July 23, 2022

Even though men also suffer with mental health problems, they can see this as a weakness or failing.  This makes it difficult to admit that there’s a problem, which makes it hard to ask for help.  Fortunately however, things are changing.

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What Is Male Mental Health?

Depression and worries impact men just as they do any of us, and men are more likely than women, to end their lives because of it.  This is no wonder when we consider how men have been socialised to “be the man” and look after and provide.  Notwithstanding, more men are starting to open up about their mental health difficulties.  It takes strength and courage to do this, especially because men have been force-fed a toxic narrative about masculinity.

 

Indeed, men experience the same difficulties as anyone else.  For example, with relationship conflict and separation, financial problems, bereavement, unemployment, familial conflict, and legal matters, to name just some issues.  Men can also experience eating disorders and body image issues, and problems with substances, because they may turn to these to cope.  Certainly, men’s mental health is just as vulnerable to problems so the way things are dealt with needs to, and is, gradually changing.

What Are The Symptoms?

Anger & Irritability

Men are socialised to believe that some emotions are off limits to them, while others are socially acceptable.  Anger is seen as more acceptable and is often more familiar.  So, men will often express their anger, annoyance, and irritability by lashing out, instead of talking about what is really going on for them.

Anxiety & Worry

Intrusive thoughts about areas of concern often lead to a preoccupation with them.  This can result in worrying, and feelings of fear and anxiety.

Depression & Suicidal Ideation

Sometimes men who struggle with low-mood and depression see themselves as weak, and tell themselves that they should be able to “get on with things”.  But this dismissive approach means the right kind of help is not sought.  This can lead to a downward spiral that can develop into suicidal thoughts.

Disordered Eating Or Fitness Regimen

Due to the cultural stigma associated with eating and body issues, many men suffer in silence.  But, men do experience body image issues, which can result in harsh fitness regimens and restrictive eating.  They may also suffer with binge eating, or comfort eating.  But these are usually the symptoms of a deeper issue.

Escapism In Addiction

Often people with mental health problems will use some kind of activity to distract, avoid, and escape from life.  For example, shopping addiction, gambling, or some other activity like gaming, or pornography.

Low Sex-Drive

Libido can suffer due to the various things that might be happening, for example, feelings of depression, anxiety, and using substances to cope (like alcohol).  These add to the problem, because they add pressure, and trigger feelings of deficiency, or because of how substances can impact libido.

Self-Esteem Issues

Toxic masculinity teaches men that they should “be the man” and if they aren’t, they have failed in some way.  This message could also be something they’ve heard from close others.  This can make men feel deficient and deprived of their male identity and role, impacting sense of masculinity and therefore self-worth.

Sleep Issues

Depression affects sleep in different ways.  Some people experience insomnia, and cannot fall asleep.  Others may be able to fall asleep but wake up at night.  Whereas some people may sleep more than usual.  Often the sleep experienced does not feel restful, even if you are oversleeping.

Substance Misuse

Because some men aren’t accustomed to talking about their feelings, they may turn to substances like alcohol or other drugs.  These can become part of their normal routine but could be a coping strategy because of how they feel.

Withdrawal

Just as some men externalise their feelings through anger, others can become quiet and withdrawn because anger is something they don’t use to express themselves.  But this withdrawal is also an expression, and may hint at a problem, especially if it is noticeable.

What Causes Male Ill-Health?

There are a number of factors that impact male mental health.  Much of this stems from societal and cultural values that have been placed on men.  Men may feel a stronger need to provide, as part of their male identity, and therefore unemployment and financial problems are one cause.

Men are also increasingly impacted by body image issues due to the pressures they feel from the media’s unrealistic projection of male attractiveness.

LGBTQ+ considerations can also create difficulties for many men, who may have experienced confusion, discrimination and intolerance, leading to issues of low self-esteem, and shame.

Relationship breakdowns and divorce can impact men’s mental health too.  This can be made worse if children are involved, especially if there are issues with access and parental alienation, this is when one parent is intentionally manipulating the child(ren) against the other.

A need to belong.  Some boys and men suffer because they feel lost and displaced in life.  It is normal to want to fit in, because we need to in order to succeed socially, and in life.  This is partly why some men join groups that have questionable ideals.

As strange as it may seem, men can experience postnatal depression.  This is a legitimate issue that impacts fathers who are then unable to support their partners, in turn impacting them.  But it also affects the baby, who is three times more likely to experience behavioural problems and twice more likely to receive a psychiatric diagnosis at seven years of age.

Trauma is also an issue for some men who may have experienced forms of neglect or abuse.  This often goes unaddressed and therefore, unresolved, but this does not mean its impact goes away.

There are many other reasons that men’s mental health can become impacted, for example, if they have served in the Armed Forces, suffered bereavement, are experiencing conflict in their relationship, or work stresses.  The main thing is that men are starting to talk.

How Phinity Can Help

At Phinity we offer customised mental health care.  We are aware of the issues that men face, and provide services that are tailored to individual needs.  Our mental health services are gender aware, sensitive, and inclusive.  We will understand your concerns, and support and validate you, and how you feel because we don’t impose societal values and restrictions.  What we do is offer unconditional positive regard, to serve your specific and valid needs.

What Causes Male Ill-Health?How Phinity Can Help

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