It’s Movember and it’s time to raise awareness!
Society has made mental illness a taboo subject and despite the fact that it affects all genders, we don’t have to study researches and statistical analyses to realize that mental health in those who identify as men’s is more often overlooked.
But why do men choose not to talk about it?
Everything starts from “the gender roles” that have been formed over the years. How many times have you listened to a parent saying to their child “Boys don’t cry” or “Be a man”? The answer is a lot, right? From a very young age, boys are bombarded with unhealthy role models that promote the stereotype of a fearless and strong man that does not need any help. As a result, the term “masculinity” has permeated into everyone’s mind and is shaping every single aspect of a man’s life around strength and stoicism. Opening up is a sign of a weakness, which is not the expected behavior for a man and hence, requesting mental health support is completely out of the picture. Men find themselves trapped into a vicious cycle and they are often ‘forced’ to seek alternative copying mechanisms, which of course only worsen the situation.
These so called “social norms” are responsible for the stigma. In fact, WE are responsible for the stigma, but that only means that we actually have the power to change it.
What can we do?
Firstly, education is the key and we have to acknowledge the significant steps that have already been made. Campaigns like Movember, CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), and Heads Up are only some of the most impactful movements that have raised awareness around men’s mental health. But there should be more!
This Movember, check up on your friends/relatives/partners, make sure they are okay, listen to them and most importantly encourage them to talk! This Movember make sure that everyone around you knows that opening up is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength! This Movember, have your eyes wide open and be ready to educate the people around you!
Mental health is NOT a taboo subject. You are NOT alone!