Men, This One’s for You
It recently came to my attention that during the month of November, men around the globe, shave their facial hair into moustaches to bring attention to and raise money for men’s overall health. Movember is the official name of the organization that drives this fundraiser. They give the money collected to organizations that focus on prostate cancer, testicular cancer, men’s mental health and suicide. As I was doing research into the organization, it got me thinking about the statistics I read, particularly about men’s mental health.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), males across the globe die by suicide at twice the rate of females (WHO, 2021). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, here in the United States, males make up nearly 80% of all deaths by suicide, which is four times higher than American females (CDC, 2022). This renders the question, why the disproportionality? A number of research studies suggest that part of it is simply our culture and the ways we have stigmatized mental health, especially for men. Traditional male gender roles tend to emphasize greater levels of strength, independence, risk-taking behavior and individualism. Due to this, too many men are “toughing it out,” keeping their feelings to themselves, and struggling in silence. In addition to higher suicide rates, struggling in silence can also lead to drug and alcohol abuse. Men are almost two times more likely to binge drink than women and are three times as likely to die as a consequence of alcohol abuse (MindWise Innovations, 2017).
It's hard not to be alarmed by the statistics, but if you are like me, you are probably asking yourself, “What can be done?” Thankfully, fancy training is not required to show the men in your life that they are loved and cared for. Simple things such as reaching out and checking in, while allowing them to be vulnerable with you is a great start. It’s never too late to begin giving men a safe space to share their feelings. If the traditional male gender roles seem to be taking a toll on them, consider making a change. Encourage them to reach out to friends and family and make connections with new people in the community. Finally, encourage them to make contact with a mental health professional who can offer a judgment-free space where they can begin to heal from life’s hurt through evidence-based methods of treatment.
Men, if this hit home with you today, and you’d like to learn more about getting scheduled with a therapist, please contact Clinical Counseling Associates of Kansas City. You are important and we need you!
By: Miranda Mathis
LMSW, MAADC II