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SEEKING HELP - Men are less likely than women to seek help for mental health problems. (Shutterstock)

Mental health is an integral aspect of overall well-being, yet it often remains overshadowed by physical health. This disparity is particularly pronounced among men, who face unique societal pressures and stigmas that can hinder their ability to seek help.

The Silent Struggle

Traditionally, men have been conditioned to embody strength and self-reliance. These qualities often discourage men from expressing vulnerability or seeking help when faced with emotional distress. This cultural expectation can lead to men suppressing their feelings, which exacerbates mental health issues like depression, anxiety and stress.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), men are less likely than women to seek help for mental health problems and are more likely to die by suicide. This illustrates a critical need for increased awareness and support for men around mental health.

Barriers to Seeking Help

Several factors contribute to men’s reluctance to seek mental health support:

1. Stigma: Fear of being perceived as weak or unmanly prevents many men from acknowledging their mental health struggles.

2. Lack of Awareness: Men may not recognize the symptoms of mental health conditions or may attribute them to physical ailments, leading to a lack of understanding about when and how to seek help.

3. Social Expectations: Traditional gender roles often prioritize men as providers and protectors, leaving little room for them to focus on their own emotional needs.

4. Inadequate Support Systems: Men may find it challenging to talk about their mental health with friends or family members who might not understand or validate their experiences.

Tips for Supporting Mental Wellness

Here are some practical tips for men to support their mental well-being:

1. Acknowledge Your Feelings: Understand and accept your emotions. Writing down your thoughts and feelings in a journal can help you process and understand them better.

2. Build a Support Network: Share your experiences and feelings with trusted people. Open conversations can provide support and different perspectives.

3. Seek Professional Help: Seeing a therapist or counselor can provide you with tools and strategies to manage mental health issues. Therapy isn’t just for crises; it can be beneficial for general well-being.

4. Take Care of Yourself: Regular exercise, eating healthy, and getting enough sleep can all have a positive impact on your mental health.

5. Manage Stress: Practices like mindfulness and meditation can help you stay present and reduce stress. Apps and online resources can guide you through these techniques.

6. Stay Connected: Engaging with your community through volunteer work or social activities can provide a sense of purpose and belonging.

The importance of mental health for men cannot be overstated. By challenging societal norms, increasing awareness, and providing accessible support, we can create an environment where men feel empowered to prioritize their mental health. In doing so, we not only improve individual lives but also strengthen our communities as a whole.

Maaliea Wilbur, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, is Founder and CEO of TherapyWorks. For more information, visit mytherapyworks.com.

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