Mental health is every bit as important as physical health; In fact, the two are closely connected. The more we learn about mental and physical health, the more we see the truth: Overall health involves both, and that a distinction between the two of them only marks our own ignorance.
Attitudes have trouble keeping up with science. We’ve come a long way in our understanding of issues like anxiety and depression, and know more than ever about how to treat mental health issues proactively. Popular attitudes can still keep people away from the treatment that they need, though, and the problem is particularly acute among men.
With that in mind, here is what men need to know about mental health and mental healthcare:
Mental health issues are extremely common
Mental health issues come in all shapes and sizes, and they are far more common than we might think. Take anxiety disorders, for instance: The most common sort of mental health issue, these disorders affect nearly one in five members of the adult population of the United States.
Depression has millions of sufferers in the United States, as do other serious mental health issues. There are other things like stress to consider, too, which affects virtually everyone to some degree. Ours is a stressed-out nation, and that’s not something to shrug off: That’s a mental health issue that we must begin to take seriously. Stress can harm not only your mental health, but your physical health. It can take years off of your lifespan.
Though these sorts of issues are extremely common, we’re not always good about normalizing them. There are still serious stigmas surrounding mental health and mental healthcare, and that’s a big problem. For men, the problem is particularly large.
The challenge of male mental health
Mental illness can come for anyone, and seeking treatment takes courage for everyone. There’s no denying that, on average, men are dealing with greater barriers to mental health treatments.
These are not policy barriers or medical barriers per se. Instead, the problem appears to arise from stigma and cultural issues. Men are significantly less likely than women to get proper treatment for mental health issues. Plus, they’re dramatically more likely to die by suicide: Men are roughly three times more likely than women to die by suicide in the United Kingdrom. In the United States, men are three and a half times more likely to die by suicide than women.
Challenging this terrible trend will take time and effort. From policy perspectives, legal perspectives, health care perspectives, and cultural perspectives, there is much work to be done.
There is little doubt that the ideas of gender and gender roles that feed into the male mental health epidemic are related to those that create all sorts of other problems in our country, from drug overdose rates to pay gaps in professional settings. It’s clear is that we have to work to change these realities if we are going to solve these problems, including the male mental health epidemic.
Caring for yourself
We can’t afford to wait for society to change in a way that protects male mental health. Men need to be aware of their unique mental health challenges and should be particularly proactive about their own mental healthcare. If you knew that you were predisposed to a particular type of cancer, you would get checked by doctors regularly. In that same spirit, every man in America should be keeping tabs on his mental health.
Turning to professionals for help is a great way to do that, explain experts who offer group therapy for men in San Francisco, California. Even in progressive San Francisco, men face an uphill battle as they seek proper mental healthcare. When they find the care they need, though, it can make all the difference.
You, too, can have a healthier and happier life. It isn’t easy for men to care for their mental health, but it is well worth the effort. Now is the time to get the help that you need.