Mental health in general seems to be everywhere at the moment – which is great. I have also noticed that there has been a big increase in the talk around men and boy’s mental health. Fantastic. About time.
Did you know that the biggest killer in men under 45 is suicide!?
This is absolutely shocking!
I have always been surrounded by and brought up with the idea that men do not cry. Men do not show emotion. It’s a huge weakness if they do. It almost always called for mocking “Man up!” “What a wuss!” “You are such a girl!”
It;s horrendous that we think it is ok to mock and ridicule boys and men for showing what is completely normal. Emotions and feelings. They are important regardless of your gender!
Through my many years in the mental system I have always noticed a distinct lack of men. In therapy groups, support groups and hospital admissions men were absolutely in the minority. The only time when I noticed more than one or two men in the room was in the crisis situations. Which is truly heartbreaking.
The lack of men in the mental health system isn’t because men suffer less but because it seems much more acceptable for women to admit they have a problem and much more acceptable for them to ask for help.
I have made friends with some of these men and they agree. they could not simply ask for help. They were embarrassed and ashamed and left getting help until the last critical moment. It’s just awful. Why in this day and age do we still feel it’s ok to make men and boys feel like their emotions are not important or that they shouldn’t be having them at all!
I have always said I am going to be bringing up my son very differently. We discuss emotions regularly. I do not want him to feel he has to ever hide how he is feeling and I don’t ever want him to feel like he has to apologise for his emotions. As a family we identify emotions and feelings, we explain them and we talk about how they are ALL ok.
Of course emotions aren’t just negative there are positive ones too and we talk about these as well. I really don’t want my son to think he can’t cry or get excited or feel scared.We are going to continue to have feelings and emotions talked about in our home as it really is so so important. I do not want to be visiting him as an inpatient in hospital after a failed suicide attempt because he felt he couldn’t cope or talk to me. No one should be made to feel like that!
Unfortunately, I have seen and heard people say to my son when he’s crying or being a bit more sensitive to something “Stop being a girl” “You’re a boy. Boys don’t cry!” “You’re being a baby!” This honestly makes my blood boil. I have on most occasions managed to hold my tongue but it’s not easy. I can’t believe that this is still being said to boys in 2017! Truly shocking and it needs to stop. It damages our boys and men and I have seen first hand the horrendous effects of this kind of ignorant behaviour.
We are all responsible for making sure this kind of behaviour does not continue.
Please keep talking to all the boys and men in your lives and if you are male then please don’t suffer in silence. I have honestly seen men reach rock bottom but then receive the help they need and deserve and rise up again. They are on the road recovery. It is possible.
Lots of love
Mind is a fantastic mental health charity and are there to help you whoever you are.