03 Mar Men(tal) Health
“I’m a man, I don’t talk about my feelings, I just get on with it.” This is one of the classic attitudes shown by males when encouraged to talk about their feelings. There is something about not being ‘macho’ if we talk about our feelings. Some may perceive it as a sign of weakness, talking about our feelings as men can be seen as being ‘soft’. This attitude can lead to some men suffering silently, not sharing their thoughts or feelings and struggling to come to terms with them. The biggest cause of death for males under 50 years old is from suicide. This is a harrowing statistic that really brings home the severity of the issue at hand.
On the flip side, how about we see talking about our feelings as a sign of strength. “I am strong, therefore I’m confident to talk about my feelings, because I know it will help me feel better.” It’s a big ask to change the (majority based) societal view on how we approach our mental health as men; but when the goal leads to a healthier you, a healthier society – then how can it be ignored.
This can be achieved by making small changes in your lifestyle. The most simple change could be to express yourself when you feel the need to. Whether it be anger, anxiety, happiness, sadness etc… Of course this will need to be done in the appropriate moment. But more often than not, when we express ourselves we tend to feel better.
As a male counsellor I’m highly aware of the significant positive impact that talking about our feelings can have on our wellbeing. It can help us understand what’s going on for us, make sense of life, and find a way forward that feels right. Although I counsel adults in general, I personally specialise in working with men, I have a strong intent to reach out to those that aren’t seeking help for themselves. I want to contribute to challenging the stigma that men don’t talk about their mental health. Together; we can change the statistic.