Why male mental health needs more attention
Male mental health is an issue we may not hear about often, but it is an important one to speak about. There is still a lot of stigma around mental health issues in guys, especially depression and anxiety, eating disorders and suicide. Here’s more info Choma.
Depression and Anxiety
Many guys who suffer from mental health issues such as depression and anxiety avoid speaking about their depression and anxiety or asking for the support they need because they think they must act tough and independent to be perceived “manly” or masculine.
The problem is that depression and anxiety are issues which you need to be honest about in order to fix. These are also common issues, which should not be shameful to admit. About 1 in 8 guys will have depression, while 1 in 5 guys will experience anxiety at some point in their life.
Symptoms of anxiety in guys include insomnia (trouble sleeping), constant worry, fear and irritability. The symptoms of depression are similar- irritability and anger as well as dangerous behaviour, risk taking, alcohol or drug abuse are common.
These symptoms often don’t get the attention they need and are ignored as “boys being boys”.
Here’s a weird fact, Choma - men commit suicide more often than women (on average), while women have suicidal thoughts more often than men do. Although guys are less likely to suffer from anxiety and depression than women, they are also less likely to speak about it if they do. This leads to them often not receiving the help and support they need, which often leads to suicide.
Chomas, many people believe that eating disorders only affect women, but this is untrue. Did you know that around one in three people struggling with an eating disorder is male? Behaviors such as binging, purging, and fasting are almost as common in guys as they are in girls.
Many men have unhealthy relationships with their body, especially when it comes to their muscularity. Most guys want to be lean and muscular- what they think is the “ideal” male body type. The obsession to become muscular (known as muscle dysmorphia) can lead to spending too much time the gym, buying unhealthy supplements and even steroid use.
Male members of the LGBTQ+ community also face higher rates of depression and anxiety than the general male population. This is because they face up to twice as much abuse and violence. The discrimination they deal with can lead to depression, anxiety and suicide at even higher rates than normal.
The roles that we expect guys to live up to often come at the expense of their mental health. We need to take male mental health out of the dark and make it something we can speak about openly and without judgement, as well as making sure we check up on the guys in our lives to give them support.
Lifeline: 011 715 2000
Remember, if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).
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