Updated: Jan 2
Pride is a killer not a fast one but a slow burner, hiding your emotions because you don’t want to be perceived as weak can have an affect on your mental state. Therefore, I say you’re human and you’re meant to feel pain so don’t be afraid to let that be known, being vulnerable isn’t a weakness if anything it shows courage. Unfortunately for men, this may be easier said than done as society has created this narrative that men are meant to be strong and tough, stemming from the expression “real men don’t cry”. Also, that only a woman can express their feelings which puts pressure on men to keep up a façade of the “superman” who saves the damsel in distress, however, little do they know sometimes it’s ‘a superman’ who needs saving. To that, I say let’s get rid of the term ‘man up’ which is degrading to one’s self-esteem and just the words alone, create a perception of what a man should act like, and that can be damaging. If there’s any term, I’d like to encourage it’s “speak up” as in let your voice be heard, so your feelings can be taken into account; because they are valid.
Over the past years, there have been men in the public eye who have spoken openly about struggling with their mental health, specifically depression and anxiety which has been a great way to raise awareness. For example, in 2017, Grime artist Stormzy spoke out about his battle with depression in an interview with channel 4. I can imagine for many this came as a surprise based on his exterior and the assumption that a man of his stature couldn’t possibly have any troubles, also the music he produces you’d think otherwise but that’s just the problem. We as humans judge the book by its cover and feel as though we’ve got the plotline figured out which isn’t the case, as we’re only on the outside looking in. In addition, Stormzy’s audience being majority young men, seeing him speak candidly about his experience with mental health was important, and hopefully gave those going through similar situation the courage to also speak up and seek the right help, just as Stormzy did.
When it comes to admitting that you are struggling with your mental health, the first step in moving forward is acceptance, as in accepting that you’re struggling mentally. It’s easy to get comfortable in a dark hole and stay there because for some that’s all they have known. But the next step is to be open to receiving that help and actively seek after it. Here are some suggestions, to help you on your journey:
Ways of seeking help
The first suggestion is talking to a professional as in a therapist, for many this may be difficult at first because the thought of telling a stranger your inner thoughts is daunting. But remember that, therapists are trained medical professionals who are equipped to hear about your problems and provide you with healthy solutions to overcome your negative thought patterns and help you regain your confidence again. The other option I suggest is, speaking to a loved one being a friend or family member who you trust.
2. Online resources
If face-to-face contact is too overwhelming, there are online resources for example Talkspace is an online therapy organisation. There are also charities such as Mind who help/advise those struggling with mental health. Another organisation is Young Minds which
Provides support for young people.
3. Support Group
You could create/join a support group just for men by providing advice and support for others experiencing the same thing.
4. Become a mentor/get a mentor
- If you’re someone who’s dealt with your mental health and feel as though you could help others /guide, then why not apply to become a mentor.
- Or if you need of a mentor you can apply for one online.
All suggestions are mainly focused on communication, as being able to communicate is key. However; in this case, it’s about being comfortable and creating a safe space for yourself.
The significance of the subject matter and your wellbeing come first.
To sum this all up; let’s aim to normalise men speaking out more about their mental health and remove the stigma, it’s time to change the narrative. Before anything, we are all human and we all have our struggles, being able to express that shouldn’t come with discrimination based on gender. No longer referring to men as less than, weak or inferior but instead, brave and courageous as much the next person.
Written by Jessica