As part of Movember, we are highlighting the facts on men’s health hot topics.
Did you know that over 1.5 million men suffer from mental health yearly?
What we sometimes hear – ‘chin up’, ‘pull your socks up’, ‘she’ll be right’ can apply pressure to bottle up thoughts and emotions that can be harmful to health and wellbeing.
Common Barriers – The set ways of becoming a man, including community beliefs, attitudes, values, and assumptions. Role models, family upbringing and cultures that place importance on being rational, logical, independent, dominant, competitive, self-reliant, stoic, tough, competent, invulnerable, unemotional and successful. Rigid society views and intolerance for deviation. All this results in the inability or unwillingness of men to open up, show emotions, focus on mental health, and seek help and support at appropriate times.
Typical Stats – Women experience higher rates of anxiety and depression than men. Men, however, are less likely to see their reactions as depression and are more likely to use alcohol to try to deal with it. Men are also less likely to reach out for help.
Ways to improve mental health in men:
- Build good relationships, encourage family and friends to talk, listen, and care. Allow an outlet when life gets tough
- Foster hobbies, sports, clubs, and group activities. Provides purpose, identify and sense of worth
- Look after physical health, optimise lifestyle – eat well, be active, drink in moderation (less than 14 per week for men), sleep enough
- Develop a positive can-do mindset, avoid blame, worry or dodging problems
- Manage stress, find ways to relax, unwind and be still
- Seek support, including from professionals
- Problem-solve issues, make a plan of action
- Learn to accept things that can’t be changed, use distraction (but not avoidance)
- Don’t overwork or allow burnout
- Give back, help others or donate time or money
- Listen, be empathetic, don’t judge or interrogate
Most importantly, let’s create more open conversations with our fellow male friends and family members on these topics, together, we can create safe spaces to share, and support a healthy mind and wellbeing.