TW: Mention of suicide and alcohol abuse
Hello! My inquiry question is “What are the effects of stigma against mental health?” For this blog post, I am going to be researching “Why is there a stigma against men’s mental health and how does this affect men?”
Traditional masculinity is linked to poor mental health (1). The former includes stereotypes such as that men are tough, have multiple sexual partners, are straight, etc (2). This can cause men to feel a pressure to conform to these stereotypes, this is what we call toxic masculinity.
“Being a man”, according to society, is dealing with issues on your own. The relation to showing emotional vulnerability with others is seen as feminine because women are perceived as sensitive (3). The reason why men typically avoid their so-called “feminine side” is because toxic masculinity is the avoidance of effeminate behaviour. This creates the link between traditional masculinity and poor health because men avoid asking for help.
Now into the question of “how does the stigma against men’s mental health affect men?” Men tend to turn to alcohol as a way that is socially acceptable way to be emotionally vulnerable. Some men find that they’re more sociable, confident with sexual partners, etc, (4). However, this may lead to developing alcohol addiction.
Another way that this affects men and boys is that they’re at a higher risk to commit suicide than woman are in Canada (5). Across multiple life spans, such as ages 10 to 19 and 20 to 29 in men and boys, suicides are both the 2nd leading cause of death in these age groups in 2016 in Canada (5).
How can we as a community help our men and boys?
Listen! Listening to men and boy’s struggles and concerns rather than dismissing them and telling them to “be a man” helps stop the stigma against men’s mental health.
Ask! Ask what you can do to support.
Become informed! Learn more about the topic of men’s mental health.
You can call 811 to speak to a registered nurse or a pharmacist about non-emergency concerns. You can also call 1-866-585-0445 or text WELLNESS to 686868 for youth to talk to a mental health profession. For crises, call 911 in life threatening emergencies. You can also call the Canadian Suicide Prevention at 1-833-456-4566.