Mental illness affects men and women from all walks of life. Why is it, then, that many men are often reluctant to seek treatment for anxiety, depression or other mental health issues? The answer may have a lot to do with traditional notions of masculinity. Men are socialized to adhere to certain unspoken rules, which can prevent them from getting the help they need. Let’s dispel four common myths about men and mental health.
1. Men Should Be Able to Control Their Emotions
Depression and anxiety are mood disorders, and they can cause powerful shifts in emotions that are beyond our ability to control. It’s not a personal failure to experience depression or anxiety, just as it’s not a personal failure to suffer from a physical illness.
2. Asking for Help Makes You Weak
Our culture celebrates rugged individualism while sometimes forgetting that no man is an island. Humans are social creatures, and we need each other to survive. Many men may miss getting treatment for anxiety and depression because they believe that asking for help makes them seem weak. But consulting a mental health professional is sometimes necessary to get the tools needed to heal.
3. Talking About Feelings Won’t Fix Anything
Denying your feelings won’t make them go away. Talk therapy is a proven treatment for anxiety and depression. Working with a trusted therapist can help you discover coping skills and gain new perspectives.
4. Mental Illness Is a Personal Failing
Mental illness can happen to anyone. It’s not a choice, it’s just an unavoidable fact of life. Anxiety and depression are no different than high blood pressure or diabetes. They can happen to anyone, and they require professional support.