Myths and facts : Men and mental health

Take a look at some of the myths and misconceptions that are prevalent about men and mental health

M Priyanka

Myth: Men do not face any mental health issues. They are mentally stronger.

Fact:It is assumed that all men are mentally strong, because in a patriarchal culture, men are not encouraged to openly express their emotions, and when they do, they are ridiculed and branded 'weak and feminine'. This can be detrimental to their mental health in the long run.

Myth: Unlike women, men are good at managing their emotions.

Fact: A popular cultural notion is that real men don't cry. An exception to this is made only in case of extreme situations such as loss of a loved one. This sends the idea that men are not allowed express their emotions except in drastic situations. Therefore, many men resort to alcohol, drugs or aggressive behavior which encourage the masculine ideals of self reliance and denial of emotions1.

Men do not need to seek help for anything. They can handle it on their own.

Fact: It is culturally believed that men are in charge of the family and they are responsible for taking any decisions related to their families. This sends the message that men cannot consult anyone or seek guidance for any distress or mental health issue they face as that can show their inability to handle them.   

Myth: Marriage will solve a man's mental illness.

Fact: Mental illness requires treatment which may include medication and or therapeutic intervention. It then becomes important to focus on treating the symptoms rather than on getting the person married. Marriage is not a solution to mental illness, and may only worsen the situation for the prospective partner.

References:

1 - Masculinity and men's mental health, Gary R Brooks, Journal Of American College Health.