5 Mental Health Problems Affecting Men
By Barry Wallace, MA, LCAS, LCMHC, NCC
In our society, males are often socialized towards unhealthy masculine traits such as aggression, fear of showing emotions, unconditional physical toughness, and hyper-independence. As a result, men are less likely to seek help for substance use and/or mental health issues.
At SouthLight, we’ve identified a considerable number of male clients wanting to learn about:
- emotional regulation
- methods to be emotionally vulnerable
- coping skills for trauma
- developing healthy self-care plans
As a counselor in SouthLight’s Adult Outpatient Treatment Program, I see many male clients who are used to working to provide for themselves or their families while at the same time sacrificing their own mental health. This month, I encourage men to take charge of their health by engaging with those around them in healthy discussions about their mental health, including lifestyle changes as well as recognizing and seeking help when they need it most.
5 Mental Health Problems Affecting Men
The following are five problems that I’ve recently witnessed affecting men:
- Performance Anxiety
- Anger Management
- Life Transition Stressors
A majority of men have difficulty being able to maintain performance at times. Further, men may not recognize having depressive symptoms until it starts to impact other areas of their lives, like careers or involvement with loved ones.
Due to the trait of hyper independence, many men don’t feel they can allow themselves to be supported in their lives while some men don’t have support systems at all. This can lead to an increase in mental distress over time.
FACT: Many men don’t feel comfortable reaching out for help.
You are not alone.
You are strong, and there is nothing wrong with you.
You can change the cycle of your life by your choices.
Look within yourself.
A lot of men I see are skeptical but willing to put themselves in uncertainty for growth. They are strong enough to look within themselves and notice they are not being the best version of themselves. They are motivated towards finding their best selves.
There is no shame in therapy.
It helps to find and build a rapport with a qualified therapist as they will allow you to be comfortable in a safe space. Take things one step at a time, and if it doesn’t work out with one therapist then find another one.
3 Ways to Reduce Stigma Surrounding Men’s Mental Health
1 – Focus on the benefits that therapy provides.
We can reduce the stigma surrounding men and mental health by shining a light on the benefits of therapy as well as having discussions about the impact of therapy in different communities.
2 – Engage in conversations about mental health.
People need to know it’s not the same as the stigma. Some individuals think therapy is only for “crazy” people, or culturally we don’t want to have our ‘business’ out in the world. An elephant under the rug is still an elephant under the rug and often it gets bigger over time.
3 – Recognize when help is needed.
Recognizing the need for support and seeking help is the trait of healthy masculinity.
If you want change, you have to learn to lean into uncertainty. If you want to change, you have to change your mindset.
Therapy can help men become better men. Therapy can help fathers become better fathers.
Men’s Mental Health Resources
- 5 Minute Guide to Men’s Mental Month (Infographic) [via Mental Health America]
- Men’s Health Month [via U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Minority Health]
- Men and Depression [via National Institute of Mental Health]
*If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, dial 9-8-8 for immediate help.
About Barry Wallace, MA, LCAS, LCMHC, NCC
Barry Wallace is a licensed counselor with SouthLight Healthcare’s Adult Outpatient Treatment Program.