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Men's Mental Health - Myths vs. facts

The high prevalence of mental health conditions in India is a severe danger to the country's overall health. Even with the awareness and efforts taken to make mental health concerns more known to individuals there is still a lot of stigma around it. The mental health of men is reportedly experiencing a silent crisis, according to many academics. Stigma around men’s mental health makes it extremely difficult for them to reach out for help. In addition to preventing men from seeking or receiving treatment, experts point out that toxic masculinity standards are frequently to blame for mental health illnesses in males as well. By pressuring men to uphold "unrealistic and impossible" expectations, experts say that men are exposed to stress and depression.

India’s Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry launched a 24*7 toll-free mental health helpline. An initial report also revealed that most of the callers on the helplines were males indicating that men go through mental health concerns as well however are not able to get the needed help or even acknowledge the concerns because of the stigma.

This Men’s mental health day, let us look at some of the myths surrounding men’s mental health.

1. Men do not face any mental health condition. They are mentally stronger.

It is thought that all men have strong minds, because men are discouraged from publicly expressing their emotions in patriarchal cultures and when they do, they risk mockery and being labelled "weak and feminine”.

2. Men don’t go to therapy.

It is believed in many patriarchal cultures that “real men don’t need help”. This creates a toxic environment where men are considered weak for wanting or even seeking help. Sometimes we require an outside viewpoint to understand what could be causing our despair. The best course of action is to get advice from a specialist who has knowledge about different mental health conditions and available treatments.

3. Men should be able to control their feelings/ Men don’t cry

Men may experience sadness and cry as well, and this is not an indication of weakness or that a man has to "man up." A man is allowed to express only during loss which also indicates that they are allowed to express only in drastic situations and in other situations it would be considered as a sign of weakness.

Although we can't always control our feelings, we can try to manage how we act. And part of it is deciding whether to ignore our issues or address them head-on before they get out of control.

4. Men cannot be victims of abuse.

Men can be targets of abuse too. The general myth is that if you are a man and have gone through abuse then you are not “man enough”. These assumptions and ideologies are extremely disturbing and prevent a lot of men from speaking up as well as getting the right help when it is needed.

5. Men should deal with stress and other concerns on their own.

Because in many cultures men are seen as the bread earner/head of the family, the notion is that they should be providing for the family and they cannot experience stress or any other emotion because if they do that makes them weak. The general notion is that experiencing concerns would make them a burden hence they should not share. However because of this a lot of men deal with stress and keep bottling their emotions up.

It's crucial to concentrate on strategies to combat the stigma around mental health during Men's Health Month, especially when it comes to getting help. Many men continue to view mental health issues as a personal problem, a result of their lack of the proper personal fortitude, even when the misconceptions are proven to be nothing more than myths.

Even when males do seek care for mental health problems, they can fail to report what they are actually going through.

If you would like to seek help, apply here to get a consultations with out counsellors.

- Nidhi Shah, Counselling Psychologist, Hibiscus Counselling

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