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Men’s Health Week (2023)

Men’s Health Week 2023 is held on the 12th of June until 18th or June, and is an international event that looks at raising awareness and promoting action around the unique challenges faced by men, and their well-being and general health. Here at bMindful Psychology, we are using Men’s Health Week as an opportunity to shed light on the unique challenges faced by men when it comes to mental health. Societal expectations, cultural norms, and traditional gender roles often discourage men from seeking help or expressing their emotions openly. This blog aims to unmask men’s mental health, common symptoms to look out for and how together we can help break the stigma surrounding it.





Did you know?

  • 1 in 2 men will have a diagnosable mental health disorder like depression or anxiety in their lifetime (International Men’s Day, 2021), with 9% of men experiencing symptoms of major depression (Kessler et al., 2003).

  • 1 in 3 men will have a substance abuse disorder (International Men’s Day, 2021).

  • 1 in 5 men will have an anxiety disorder (International Men’s Day, 2021).

  • 1 in 8 men will have a mood disorder (International Men’s Day, 2021).

  • 1 in 9 men will experience suicidality (International Men’s Day, 2021), as men are three to four times more likely to die of suicide compared to women (WHO, 2019).

  • Men who identify as sexual minorities face a higher risk of mental health issues due to discrimination and social exclusion (Poteat and Scheer, 2016).

  • Despite the facts and figures above, men are less likely than women to seek professional help for mental health issues, with only one in three men with a mental health disorder seeking treatment (Rice et al., 2016).


Common symptoms of mental health issues (in everyone not just men!):

  • Mood: Feeling sad/depressed; looking gloomy; anxious and stressed; irritable or angry; difficulty concentrating.

  • Behaviours: Drinking and taking drugs; taking part in risky behaviour; self-harming; trouble sleeping, sleeping too much; loss of appetite/overeating.

  • Physical Symptoms: Drained/feeling tired; body aches and pains; increased heart rate/breathing; sweating/trembling; headaches.

  • Social Functioning: Withdrawal and isolation; loss of interest in activities; escapist behaviour (such as overworking); difficulty fulfilling work and/or family responsibilities.


Breaking Down the Stigma


Challenging and dismantling the stigma surrounding men's mental health is crucial for promoting well-being and encouraging help-seeking. Here are some strategies to address and break down the stigma:


Education and Awareness:

Increasing public awareness about men's mental health and challenging stereotypes is essential. Educate society about the prevalence of mental health issues among men and highlight the importance of seeking support. Promote messages that emphasise courage, strength, and resilience in seeking help.


Encouraging Open Dialogue:

Create safe spaces where men feel comfortable discussing their mental health without fear of judgment or discrimination. Encourage open and honest conversations about emotions and mental well-being. Role models and influential figures can play a vital role in sharing their own experiences and advocating for mental health.


Language Matters:

Use inclusive and non-judgmental language when discussing mental health. Avoid reinforcing stereotypes or stigmatising language that may discourage men from seeking help. Instead, promote empathy, understanding, and acceptance.


Promote Help-Seeking as Strength:

Highlight stories of men who have sought help and successfully managed their mental health challenges. Portraying help-seeking as a sign of strength and resilience can help combat the notion that seeking support is a weakness.


Supportive Networks:

Foster supportive networks and communities that promote mental health and well-being among men. Encourage peer support, mentoring programs, and initiatives that create safe spaces for men to share their experiences and seek support from others who can relate.


Unmasking men's mental health requires breaking the stigma, encouraging open dialogue, and providing support and resources. It is essential to continue raising awareness, supporting initiatives, and fostering an environment that empowers men to seek help and unmask their mental health struggles.


To find out more about Men's Health Week and how you can get involved, visit: https://menshealthmonth.org/imhw/imhw


To find out more about bMindful Psychology services, visit: www.bmindfulpsychology.co.uk/our-services


Notes

Addis, M. E., and Mahalik, J. R. (2003). Men, masculinity, and the contexts of help-seeking. American Psychologist, 58(1), pp. 5-14.

Keng, S.L., Smoski, M.J., and Robins, C. J. (2011). Effects of mindfulness on psychological health: A review of empirical studies. Clinical Psychology Review, 31(6), pp. 1041-1056.

Kessler, R. C., et al. (2003). Epidemiology of mental disorders in the United States: Results from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. JAMA Psychiatry, 62(6), pp. 617-627.

Mammen, G., an Faulkner, G. (2013). Physical activity and the prevention of depression: A systematic review of prospective studies. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 45(5), pp. 649-657.

Pierce, M. et al. (2020). Mental health before and during the COVID-19 pandemic: A longitudinal probability sample survey of the UK population. The Lancet Psychiatry, 7(10), pp. 883-892.

Poteat, V. P., and Scheer, J. R. (2016). Biological and psychosocial outcomes of minority stress in lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals. Journal of Sex Research, 53(4-5), pp. 541-571.

Rice, S. M., et al. (2016). Men's perceived barriers to help-seeking for depression: Longitudinal findings relative to symptom onset and duration. Journal of Health Psychology, 21(6), pp. 1106-1117.

International Men’s Day. (2021). Facts and figures. Retrieved from https://www.internationalmensday.info/

World Health Organisation. (2019). Suicide data. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/mental_health/prevention/suicide/suicideprevent/en/

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