Men are Dying Because They Can’t Talk

Creative Commons image “Lost in a Crowd” by Keoni Cabral via Flckr.

Every country in the world has seen male suicides outnumber female suicides, and it’s because men are silent and reluctant to seek help.

The socialization of men is based on homophobia, sexism and pressure from media and peers who support these mindsets. From birth, they are told to be strong, to be unshakable, and never display any kind of sensitivity or weakness, lest you be branded “gay,” “sad,” or a variety of other disparaging, prejudicial terms that are considered feminine and like a woman.

Men are being taught to think that being open about their emotions and mental health is an engagement in identifying with a gender identity other than their own-men don’t do this.

Only women.

Men are taught that they have a Breaking Point, and that it involves anything from a bar brawl to domestic violence. They are taught that violence is conflict resolution, and that uncorking themselves and venting is something that happens when it cannot be stopped, not when it can.

Mental health’s biggest challenge is to get people to talk — to stop the silence.

Silence is death.

Silence is self-harm.

Silence is smiling through your pain.

Silence is not bravery when it comes to mental health.

We need to address the mental health benefits and positive masculinity demonstrated when men express themselves, whether it’s via social media, a discussion around the dinner table, or in the narrative of a TV show.

Toxic posts and books that suggest that men and women are simply “wired” differently suggest that women should cater to the emotional shortcoming of men in order to avoid conflict. This is a problem- it dismisses the mental illness issue and reinforces the male stereotype that men don’t have real feelings.

This isn’t about coming out about your mental health to your friends at the bar-there are actual, professional, free resources on the NHS (National Health Service) that are available.

Private mental health professionals are an option, too.

You can be healed while taking small steps towards being more open about how you feel outside the therapist’ room.

Men do things because they want to be strong.

To not die. To live.

So talk. Seek help. Even quietly.

Push back against stereotypes and prejudice that keep men silent.

This goes for everyone, not just men.


Originally published at stillstandingbykristi.blogspot.com on October 16, 2015.

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