Since 1994, the week leading up to Father’s Day has been set aside as Men’s Health Week. This is an important time to talk openly and honestly about some of the health issues that men struggle with—and that includes mental health.
Sadly, mental health is a topic that many men are uncomfortable talking about. There is an intense pressure for men to live up to a certain image of toughness and masculinity—and talking about something like anxiety or depression might be seen as somehow less than “manly.” Because of this, men generally have a tougher time than women talking about their mental health needs, and seeking help when they need it.
What makes this stigma so grievous is that many men do struggle with very real—and very treatable—mental health disorders. For example, it is estimated that roughly six million men are affected by depression each year.
This is to say nothing of other mental health issues that men face—including anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Meanwhile, men account for roughly 10 percent of all people in treatment for anorexia or bulimia, and 35 percent of those who have a binge-eating disorder. Again, men are far less likely than women to seek medical care for these conditions.
What then can you do for the men in your life? Start by breaking down the stigma. Use this special week as an opportunity to talk openly and honestly about mental health-related issues. Build your own understanding of mental health issues by reading up on topics like depression and anxiety. Encourage men you know to get screened for mental health disorders, and to seek treatment as needed.
Mental health is a big part of men’s health in general. Let’s all speak up on this important subject—this and every week.
How will you encourage mental health awareness—especially among men? Let us know!
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