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Unmasking Manhood: Shattering the Silence on Men's Mental Health

Both men and women face mental health difficulties of varied degrees of intensity in their lives at one point of time. Females are likely to experience mental health issues more as compared to males but WHO reported that suicidality is 2 times more common in men than in women. According to ICMR studies, every 7th Indian man is having mental health issues.


Dr. Damanjit Kaur (MD Psychiatry)  



Men’s mental health issues are usually snubbed and kept under the blanket because of the societal attitude towards the expression of emotions by a man publicly. They struggle to accept the fact that they have a mental health issue and that they need help. If they recognize and talk to someone, they are told to ‘MAN UP’ and to bury their struggles. They are even bullied by their peers over expressing their emotions. This will in turn discourage them from reaching out in future.


It is the societal expectation and traditional gender roles which lead men to think that they must:

  • Be the breadwinner in the family.

  • Only display traditional ‘masculine traits’ of strength and control on others.

  • Rely on oneself and not seek help form others.

  • Not speak openly about their emotions.

 

These beliefs also refrain them from accessing help and care. Our Indian society has always portrayed man as a strong gender who is physically stronger, doesn’t cry and is emotionally strong as well. Even if they have any financial crisis, they have to face it all and cannot share the burden with others, which is portrayed as a sign of weakness. This belief is glorified and well supported by our Bollywood movies and entertainment industry, that people even if they want to talk about it but they refrain from it.

 

Common warning signs that reflect any mental health issues in men are:


  • Unexplained aggressiveness, frustration in behavior.

  • Change in mood or energy levels.

  • Change in appetite or sleep patterns.

  • Difficult in focusing on work.

  • Feeling restless or ‘on edge’.

  • High indulgence in alcohol consumption or drugs.

  • Feeling sad, hopeless, numb.

  • Having unexplained aches or pain in the body.

  • Obsession or compulsive acts.

  • Thinking or acting in a way that is impacting his personal, professional or occupational spheres of life.

 

 Breaking the silence:

Supporting men's mental health requires a multifaceted approach that addresses the systemic, societal, and individual factors at play. It involves advocating for policy changes that prioritize mental health services and destigmatize seeking help. It means promoting workplace environments that prioritize well-being and offer resources for mental health support. It also entails fostering healthy relationships and communication skills that encourage men to express their emotions openly and without judgment.


Ultimately, breaking the silence surrounding men's mental health is a collective responsibility. It requires a cultural shift—a reimagining of masculinity that celebrates authenticity, vulnerability, and emotional well-being. By challenging stereotypes, fostering empathy, and promoting open dialogue, we can create a world where men feel empowered to seek help, find support, and thrive in their journey toward mental wellness. Together, we can break the silence and build a more compassionate and inclusive society for all.

If you or your near one is facing issues, please reach out for help from A Mental health professional today.


Dr. Damanjit Kaur (MD Psychiatry)  

Faith Hospital, Chandigarh
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