November 1 marks the official start for what is known as “Movember. We often acknowledge mental health in women but whether you’re a father, husband, brother, or son your mental health is just as important. With a long year that has been impacted by the pandemic, Movember is a significant event to celebrate men's mental health. What is Movember? Movember is a charity that campaigns to raise awareness of serious men’s health issues through the light-hearted and inclusive manner of growing a mustache during the month of November. By looking at the issue of mental health through a male lens, Movember encourages men to be more open about mental health issues. The charity also aims to “challenge the negative aspects of masculinity and the impact this can have on mental health.” Common issues in men's mental health The stigma around mental health can be a barrier to seeking treatment, particularly among men who may feel pressured to conform to the ‘strong and silent’ masculine ideal. The fear that mental health problems are a sign of weakness may prevent men from addressing their issues before they reach crisis point. One in eight men are diagnosed with a mental health problem every year and one in five men will experience anxiety at some stage of their lives. Loneliness It can be more commonly referred to as ‘social isolation', loneliness in its severe forms is now seen as a contributor to many social ills including violence, suicide, and substance abuse. It can be a feeling of sadness about being alone, it can also happen when you’re surrounded by people. As the individual can feel a lack of connection to the environment around you, the lost sense of belonging, and the feeling that nobody understands you. Stress, Depression & Anxiety most commonly associated with working life, stress, depression, and anxiety can be triggered and influenced by any number of situations including at home, social situations, and on the sporting field. Men’s mental health and suicide According to AIHW, Over the last decade, the age-standardized suicide rate for males increased from 16.2% deaths per 100,000 population in 2011 to 18.6% in 2020. In 2020 there were 2,384 suicide deaths in males (18.6 per 100,000 population) in Australia compared to 755 suicide deaths in females (5.8 per 100,000). It is rather common for men to end their lives prematurely whereas women tend to have more suicidal thoughts. A large number of suicidal rates in men is an issue that needs to be addressed. Of course, we should learn to acknowledge mental health for men not only during November but daily. Factors for the decline in mental health in men Traditional male gender roles The traditional male gender role deters emotional expression as men are told they need to ‘be tough’ and not be too reliant on others. Such rigid gender norms may make it difficult for men to reach out for support when they need it. Depression may be underdiagnosed in men Men often do not disclose feelings of depression to their doctors. When they do, it is often described in terms of having problems at work or in relationships. Men also tend to describe their feelings as "stress" or “tired” rather than sadness Men are less likely to seek help for emotional problems Research suggests that depression is diagnosed less frequently in men because of the tendency to deny illness, self-monitor symptoms, and self-treat Men can lean towards substance abuse as a coping mechanism As for the traditional male gender role, men avoid asking for emotional support as a result they utilised other ways to cope with emotion. This can stem from alcohol and other substances. How can men seek help? Practice self-help Practicing self-help can be the first step into having a good relationship with yourself, that is, your body and mind. Self–care and help practice can include various forms of meditation practices, exercising – to rebuild your strength, or even reading self-help books. Supportive communities Seeking supportive communities such as support groups can be a way of connecting with others who are going through the same things. Finding something in common with others can be a way to cope with mental illness and know that you are not alone in this. It also allows members of the group to exchange new methods, skills, and strategies to cope with current challenges. Interaction within a structured group is particularly useful for group members to learn self-care. They can become more communicative and learn how to assert themselves by knowing their rights. Most of all, a support group can help someone with a mental health issue to learn which behaviors are acceptable and which are not. Try counseling or speak to a mental health professional Seeking professional help is essential in the self-care process and allows a conversation between a trained mental health professional and someone who wants to talk about their worries and concerns, and/or work through their mental and social health issues. If you would like to consult or connect with a professional feel free to download our Cyber Clinic app on the Apple Store or on Google Play. You may also head to How it Works on how to download the app. Our practitioners offer Medicare rebates. Professional counselors, social workers or psychologists, are trained to follow a contextual counseling and problem-solving process to listen, understand, and help you find ways to feel better.
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