Male mental health is certainly a topic which is neglected in the modern era as evidenced by the fact that in England, around 1 in 8 men have a common mental health problem. If this isn’t something to be concerned about, then quite frankly, I don’t know what is. It’s easy for someone to say ‘Oh, just man up’, ‘Get over it’, ‘Why are you so emotional?!’ but the reality is that men struggle to open up about their emotions and feelings due to the societal stigma which has been attached to it. We as a society often label men who talk about their emotions as weak and feminine, not realising that we are all humans and emotions are genderless.
What makes this worse is if you are a person of colour, it often becomes a struggle trying to navigate or receive therapy. I am of Pakistani descent and I am aware of the lack of support for the BAME community which needs to be addressed.
We as a society often label men who talk about their emotions as weak and feminine, not realising that we are all humans and emotions are genderless.
My name is Ameen. I am an Undergraduate Psychology student as well as a Mental Health blogger who runs the Ameen’s Canopy blog site. Being male, I have noticed in my own personal life that if I’m feeling a bit down and express emotion in front of others, people automatically shut me down and become almost shocked that I’m telling them my worries. There is this expectation that a man has to always present himself as strong, firm and sometimes even aggressive. However, that is not the case, a man has feelings too and if you are a man going through mental health issues and you feel you’re not being heard, I can completely understand.
Also, my experience of navigating therapy as a person of colour comes from knowing people in my own community who struggle to find counsellors and therapists who they feel comfortable in speaking to, especially from a religious and cultural perspective. Quite often in local areas there just aren’t enough counsellors from certain ethnic backgrounds in order to accommodate for people of colour like themselves.
My advice to BAME young men
Suicide is the number one killer of men aged under 45 and a lot of this is attributed to the stigma around men talking about mental health and subsequently not seeking help for their mental health. If you are a man suffering from mental health issues, I promise you this; you are not alone.
Suicide is the number one killer of men aged under 45. If you are a man suffering from mental health issues, I promise you this; you are not alone.
There are some great charities and campaigns that are looking to tackle male mental health stigma which you can check out below