Men and Mental Health

As some of my readers know, I’ve had some experiences with intrusive thoughts, which is when one struggles with unwelcome, unpleasant, and upsetting thoughts and ideas. These experiences led me to write about mental health from a faith (Christian faith, more specifically) point-of-view a couple of months ago.

Writing about mental health from a faith perspective is important. However, given the sobering statistic that 77% of those who die by suicide in the United States are men, as well as the fact that we are in the midst of Mental Health Awareness Month, I think it’s important to have a discussion about men and mental health.

The thing about men, at least in the United States, is that we have expectations connected to our gender identity that make it problematic to be open about our mental health. We’re taught to be tough, strong, not show weakness, not be vulnerable, and confident, to name a few. Characteristics required of us in order to improve our mental health when we’re struggling mentally—vulnerability, weakness, seeking help—are not “manly.” Attempts to live up to those ideals of being a man can, if we’re not careful, keep men from opening up to their families, friends, counselors, and therapists (that is, if one gets to the point of getting counseling or seeking therapy—as getting counseling or therapy is seeking help, doing so may not be considered “manly”).

Now, in my case, I thankfully had men AND women in my life who helped me confront those stereotypes about men before I had my bouts of intrusive thoughts. However, I have known other men in my life who’ve struggled with those stereotypes and struggle with mental health at the same time, and I can say this—it’s not easy.

I don’t have all the answers to male suicide rates, but I do think that we need to start by making it okay for men to be vulnerable, and for men to seek help. I think that Olympic Swimmer Michael Phelps’ openness about his own past struggles is admirable and breaks many stigmas about men and mental health, but we need more Michael Phelpses in the world. We need to make it clear that it is okay for everyone, including me, to not always be okay. We need to make it clear that it’s okay for a man to struggle mentally and emotionally, and that it is okay to ask for help with our mental health.

National Suicide Hotline (United States): 1-800-273-8255

International suicide hotlines from the International Bipolar Foundation can be found here.

43 Replies to “Men and Mental Health”

      1. Yeah cause all men must cry at the slightest sign of trouble . Men are wired to be more stoic than women because we are taught from day one nobody care about male pain or issues . Feminists sporting male tears mugs in regards of men complaining about how the family and divorce court treats us

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    1. Thanks for sharing my post!

      Huh. That’s strange. I’ll see if anyone else has issues with reblogging any of my posts. If so I will need to check my settings and/or reach out to WordPress. Thanks for the heads-up!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I am going to assume you are a male feminist . We men in a lot of cases are turned off by how most mental health services are designed mostly around helping women not men. I have and still struggle with some mental health issues and do not seek much treatment by professionals for that reason as well as my history of sexual abuse as a teen in a few mental wards .

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes–I believe that men and women should have equal rights.

      Unless recollection fails me, most people who are open about mental health issues are women, which is why I think most mental health services are designed around mostly helping women. In a way, it’s possible that a collective lack of openness about mental health among men has resulted in what you describe here.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Feminism is just socially acceptable misandry in my opinion and a lot of men in the confines of the MRA movement . Okay assuming women deserve equal rights should that also come with equal responsibility? Also legally women actually have more rights than the average man yet feminist types complain about bs forms of so called oppression by men when women do not get everything they demand . The bullshit rape culture the debunked numerous times wage gap . We have rabid feminists demanding fathers rights be ignored in child custody cases . We have feminists saying women should not be given jail time if they rape a young man cause the assume the teen boy is the aggressor. in my opinion the reason why women are more open about mental health is because it can be used as a excuse for a woman shitty / bitchy demeanor or even excuse them doing very evil acts such as falsely accusing a man of rape and assault cause she felt wronged in some way and knows the legal system and society at large will buy her bullshit . Want more men to get the help they need stop demonizing male only spaces as well as stop dehumanizing men as this evil collective of raping monsters holding women down in society.

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    1. Asher-I will have to disagree with you on this. The wage gap is real, and so is rape culture. The wage gap is particularly pronounced in sports, but there are significant wage gaps in other professions. Another thing that’s real are “tampon taxes,” where feminine hygiene products are viewed as “luxury items” instead of necessities and are taxed as such. Positions of power, ranging from CEOs to elected officials, are usually dominated by men. And then with regards to feelings (which seems to be your gripe–that men can’t express feelings), that’s a problem with women too (just in different ways). Women are viewed as bossy if they are assertive, “asking for it” if they wear “provocative” clothing, frequently catcalled and harassed…I can go on and on.

      The people and examples you brought up are not feminist. Feminism advocates for equal rights for both men and women. I also do not know a single person who calls themselves a feminist–man or woman–who advocates for what you said rabid feminists advocate for. And I know a lot of feminists.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Well my mother was a rabid feminist and treated My brother and I like trash while younger sister was treated like a princess. IT is not a wage gap in sports male sports are more enjoyable to watch thus more people watch them and more spomcers for said sport for ads so the players who draw more money get paid more simple math . Further more you do know it is illegal to pay a female of equal level experience and education wise less than a man if as you said women are cheaper to employ why do companies increase their costs by hireing men ? The tax thing certain goods and services come with a tax . Now I do not agree with taxes really at all especially income tax since a lot of our taxes go to fund things I do not like ie welfare, wars, Foreign aid I could go on and on . every feminist I have ever talked with was one who did not support actual equal right just more rights and power for women at the cost to men . Have fun in you male feminist echo chamber thinking all feminists are perfect people who never do harmful things to men and boys out of spite. Your female owner must be proud of you for regurgitating feminist talking points like it is second nature. Also Men and Women are not equals pal never were and more than likely never will be. Men are taller Stronger We handle high stress better our average Iq’s are higher I mean the list goes on and on. We used to be a team but Second and third wave feminism’s shaming of Masculinity as inherently toxic killed that shit .Feminism is now trying to force feminize boys to be more like girls . Hell some feminist mothers make their male sons dress as a girl to challenge gender roles .I call that shit abuse maybe in your book its okay. Read up on Clemintine Ford , Jessica Valenti, Big Red , Andrea Dorkin and other scum feminists before coming back at me with some retort of how I must be gay or an incel cause I do worship women or follow the Cult doctrine of feminism’s war on Masculinity

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      2. Okay, I will try and address a number of your points as best as I can.

        First, I’m sorry to hear that your mother treated you like trash. That’s dreadful, and frankly, that’s not feminist. Feminism, as I think I said in an earlier comment, is about equality, not tearing each other down.

        There is a wage gap in sports. Consider the US Men’s and Women’s Soccer teams, for example. The women are more entertaining, more competitive, and earned more revenue (I think) the past few years than the men. And yet the women earn less than the men. That’s an extreme example, as the women won the last World Cup while the men didn’t even qualify, but still.

        In terms of legalities, just because something is illegal doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. It’s also illegal to ask about family plans in a job interview, but that has happened to my mom before. Likewise, one in four women said that they were paid less than a man doing the same job: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/03/22/gender-pay-gap-facts/

        With goods and services and taxes, why is Viagra not taxed in many states, then?

        I have read up on those people you talked about. Big Red has certainly caused lots of controversy, but I am concerned that you are more upset about someone who was critical of porn (Andrea Dworkin) than people who have consumed it.

        I will leave it here. We do not see eye-to-eye on this issue, and I don’t think that a back-and-forth will be a productive use of either of our times.

      3. Dorkin has condoned castration of males Same with Clementine Ford . Feminism as it currently stands is socially acceptable Misandry and in a lot of cases it is also condones racism towards rights . You claim your blog is about pointing out injustices when men in family courts and divorce courts face injustice everyday . Hell why not the injustice of a man being falsely accused of rape and the female not facing any penalty for doing so. I will give an anecdotal account regarding my ex GF who I was intending to marry . She had planed a trip to Vegas with her friends and instead of her saving her money like she said she would when the time came just expected me [like most women do ] to just pay her way for the trip. This resulted in a argument over money when I refused to pay for it. [Do you think a woman is entitled to have unrestricted access to a man’s money if they are dating ?] So this turns into a screaming match I finally have had enough and I leave my house with her still there . I go to a bar to have a drink and chill out as I was apt to do at that time . when I return to my home she has locked herself in the bedroom . I yelled fine fuck it and sat on my couch. Not 5 mins later cops are at my door and she comes out with a busted lip and a few other self inflicted marks on her face screaming he just beat me . Cops arrest me on the spot simply taking her word on this. While in jail waiting on bail to post this vile woman I once loved kills my puppy I had just got a few weeks before . Damages my home and keys cheap asshole into my truck. When I am released and discover all this Cops refuse to even take a statement cause of her charges on me. It is feminists that have pushed the deluth model of always assume the male is the Aggressor in suposed DV calls. As well it is feminists that defend her right to do what she did without repercussion. Now it took me 10k+ in legal fees and 2 years of my life to clear my name of the charges she put against me. I will assume you think I deserved it since I refused her access to my money .

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      4. Also there is nothing wrong with porn long as it is consenting adults. I will give you a real wage gap tho Male porn Stars vs Female ones women in the industry make 2 to 3 times as much as men .

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  3. I know this all too well as a male therapist. Many men don’t even feel comfortable expressing how they feel to a female therapist and request me for that reason. The perception of being weak can really impact their ability to seek the help they need. So much focus is on why male behavior is toxic but it does not help when men are not allowed to be emotional and vulnerable. Thanks for the post! I might touch on this subject on my blog http://psychinsight.home.blog

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Men tend to not want to go to therapy due to it being mostly catered to how females express and handle things. I certainly hope you do not treat all your male clients like they are female. The entire therapy structure for men needs to be redone so it is more open to how lots of guys express things . I think the best therapy for guys is sitting and speaking with friends talking about stuff that is bothering them and then laughing and joking after

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      1. My approach with male clients is usually friendship and bonding early on. I often find that they don’t feel comfortable talking about serious issues with friends and having a male support who can hear them out is helpful. But I agree with you, the approach is different compared to women

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I really appreciate your insights, as a professional. The needs of each person (and of male clients vs female clients) are different. I would definitely be happy for you to write about this subject!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Well the op and his ilk are the feminist types it seems that think toxic masculinity is a real thing that must be destroyed at any cost to make men more akin to females . Idk what type of therapy you do but look into hosting some fathers support groups cause lots of men who struggle with some pretty serious issues also as fathers who went through divorce and lost access to their children thanks mostly in part to a vindictive ex wife or a very bias family court . I know a few local guys who after fighting to see their kids while paying extremely high child support ended up taking their own lives due to the stress pressure and heart ache

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      4. Well opinion is that masculinity and femininity are both positive influences. Of course both men and women do terrible things but I’m not a fan of blanket terms like toxic masculinity, they cause more harm than good IMO. That is tragic and sad to hear, I’ve had a few male clients get the short end of the stick in family court, happens too often. Follow my page so we can pick up this discussion there when I bring up the issue this week. I appreciate your feedback on the matter.

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  4. My biggest fight to being heard was actually family, friends and pretty much everyone in the system. I come from a failed childhood dynamic and became a doormat type. Finally entered a relationship with one of these narcissistic types. The brainwashing changes everything. Went homeless to get out, which is another major stress factor. Finally after getting super drunk last week, and ready to end it, because this existence, seven years on welfare and endless rejection had become too much. Two police officers rushed through the door and me being drunk, went into rage mode because that suicide was very timely, in that particular situation and I guess around 20 portions of alcohol. They barely got me down. First detention over night, then a week at the psychiatric hospital. The rest and help was long overdue. Finally I could see the chaos inside, which I had pushed aside for years, just to stay afloat. The mind games from various medical professionals were hard to avoid. Eventually I gave in and took Seroquel/Quietpin anti-psychotic. That triggered six weeks of infernal psychosis. A Christian would describe that perhaps as “being possessed by demons.” I rationalized it alone without help as an emotional flush, being produced visually by the brain. For six weeks, there were these short lived flashes of horrible things overlaid on top of reality, kind of like of reality was being edited into a horror film. Had they taken me seriously, the last 5-7 years wouldn’t have been wasted entirely on survival. I can’t really remember my daughter’s childhood, she is now 12. Everything was going well, until I met my narc ex, not my daughter’s mom, but another one after that failed relationship. We need to raise a large awareness about the consequences of manipulative relationships, from childhood and beyond. The consequences are quite identical regardless of gender, race, religion and all that. The brain kind of gets stuck in self destruction mode, and “The Stockholm Syndrome” is like a religion. My older older sister’s advice was to “man up.” I kept sending the family these outburst e-mails after failed attempts for decades to express myself. My mom explained that “parents can’t affect the personality development of their children.” And “you were simply born weak.” I’m beginning to believe I may have been raised by sociopaths. The past is the past and family is family, what we need is a highly accessible toolkit to navigate successfully through the brainwashing. I’m 43, in all right shape, it’s 2019. My situation was bad, but far from the worst. My fight atm. is unwinding the mess and I’m getting the help. There is also some over stimulation aspect which I used to self medicate with weed. A now former friend literally told me that I’m born with a disease and I need medication. All these family, friends and social workers have driven me even more insane with implying this and that. People have argued me into silence instead of listening. They have thrown diagnosis at me because they read an article or whatever. Social workers are the most dangerous, because they have the power to make you homeless. One definitely came close many times to pushing me over the edge to suicide, which I planned after the insanity brought on by that person. And so forth. The fact remains that people who undergo brainwashing aren’t being heard enough yet. Thank you for your post. My masculinity was a 50/50 survival success and dangerous denial.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. First, I apologize for not responding until now. For some reason your comment landed in spam. So I am thankful I checked the spam folder.

      You are absolutely right that toxic, even manipulative, relationships do a great deal of harm to one’s mental health. And that includes family, friends, and people you date. Your story of how such relationships had a near disastrous impact on mental health is a story that many share. And it’s a story that can carry a ton of stigma when it comes to involving friends and people you date (The question of, “Why didn’t you leave that person?”).

      I’m glad my post had a positive impact on you. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. After too much reflection, or perhaps rumination, it’s a weird mixture of need. Need for approval, need for affection, need for attention. One must be primed for this to be possible. There is no way I will enter a toxic relationship again, not because I was burned, but because I did the internal work necessary. What is needed in the open is more discussion about.
        1. How people become the dominant and the submissive part and how these two can heal.
        2. How to deal with the dynamic to get out faster.
        3. How to recover faster. All I did was endless research and self therapy. If I could randomly get there in four years, one can only imagine what a real professional could achieve from day one of therapy/recovery.
        Perhaps a psychedelic trip would release all this mess? Perhaps some sort of an awakening. One can argue that the religious path might be either very helpful or a frantic addictive attempt to let God just take care of it.
        Having dug my way out of hell has given me massive insight and a never before had relief and sustainable optimism in life.
        I believe your question might be answered with something like the Stockholm Syndrome. A proper answer in public is indeed lacking.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Excellent blog! Male Mental Health really is a huge topic that is only recently being explored. I run my own Male Mental Health series on my page and wonder that if I reblog this that you can reblog one of mine to help each other grow?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, James!

      When I click on the link for your site, it says that your site has been deleted (so I’m not sure how I’d be able to share a post of yours). But I’m happy to have you share one of my posts!

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