Men’s Mental Health: Let’s Talk About It
The way we perceive and talk about mental health between men is taking a positive shift. However men are more likely to die by suicide and delay seeking help. Mental Health Clinician, Steve Kay, shines light on the issue and provides useful coping strategies.
There’s a positive shift in men’s mental health, with a growing call to action to open up about our feelings.
As a child, I was told “that boys don’t cry”…we know this is unhelpful, untrue and an example of toxic masculinity. In Australia, sadly men are far more likely to die by suicide and continue to delay seeking help, when compared to females. Many men unnecessarily suffer in silence, with a hesitancy to openly display emotion or reach out to a mate or family member. It can be uncomfortable for men to be around those expressing emotions and mental health in men may often present with subtle differences.
However, there is one particular emotion that men are more likely to display - anger. Anger unchecked, can be a dangerous space for males when emotions run high or mental health remains untreated. Whilst men and women both equally experience anger, its well known that men are more likely to physically display anger. Like all other emotions, anger is a normal emotional response, however when uncontrolled there are adverse consequences. The impacts of uncontrolled anger can negatively impact the following areas: poor relationships/abusive relationships, employment, shame, violence and overall decrease in quality of life & wellbeing.
It’s important to consider that anger can be a sign of untreated mental health and or substance misuse in males. In fact, anger has been shown to be strongly correlated to suicidal behaviour.
We have all experienced tremendous change post pandemic and challenges remain in our current world of uncertainty. This uncertainty is fuelling a rise in anxiety disorders. Men are also reporting increased loneliness and social disconnection. It’s no surprise that mental health rates are rising across our communities.
The importance of social connection
Purpose and social connections are vital pieces in the jigsaw of mental health & wellbeing. If we open up dialogue about mental health, within our online communities, we are sharing valuable knowledge and hope. The anxious person scrolling through a social media newsfeed may find this blog helpful. The anxious mum worried about her adult son may forward the blog to her son. We seek help differently in 2022 and have a wide ranging means of accessing help. Don’t lose hope. Help is out there.
If men learn to know triggers to stress or uncomfortable feelings, this can improve their future responses and how they approach life’s challenges. The key take home is that early intervention is vital to ensure positive outcomes with mental health. The sooner you take that step, open up and accept help, the outcome is often empowering.
A starting point and practical strategy can be to identify what is actually impacting your mental health and which aspect or life domain issues is impacting your wellbeing or mental health.
A reflective exercise
Think about the following domains of your life, wellbeing and mental health:
List down the challenges, pain points or areas that could be further explored? What areas are going well and giving you happiness or pleasure? What’s not going so well or causing sadness or lack of interest? Where could there be improvement? Where do your strengths lie?
Life is complex, we are unique; what causes stress or discomfort for one person, may not the other.
Celebrate achievements within your life domains - no matter how small.
Finding help: Mental health support helplines
If you’re feeling stuck or need help - remember its OK to reach out. We’ve developed a helpful list of links…
MensLine Australia offers free professional 24/7 telephone counselling support for men with concerns about mental health, anger management, family violence (using and experiencing), addiction, relationship, stress and wellbeing.
Beyond Blue provides access to trained mental health professionals any time of the day or night. Calls are confidential. They will listen, provide information and advice and point you in the right direction to seek further support.
Lifeline is a national charity providing all Australians experiencing emotional distress with access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.
Suicide Call Back Service
Suicide Call Back Service offers free professional 24/7 counselling support to people at risk of suicide, concerned about someone at risk, bereaved by suicide and people experiencing emotional or mental health issues.
suicidecallbackservice.org.au | 1300 659 467 | Online Chat & Video Counselling (Available 24/7)
About Steve Kay
Steve is a passionate thought leader of mental health and wellbeing. Having witnessed firsthand the exponential rise in mental health disorders, Steve shares awareness through insights and trends in mental health and wellbeing. Steve has a clinical background and believes that empowering recovery is vital to ensure healthy individuals, communities and organisations.
Steve is conscious of the current uncertainty following disruption and challenges of the pandemic, which has seen a considerable rise in mental health issues - in particular anxiety.
Steve is passionate that the lived experience of mental health is validated and discussed; having himself having experienced clinical depression and anxiety. He has seen that recovery is possible and through his work aims to reduce the impact of suicide on communities and families.
Connect with Steve via LinkedIn
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