A big part of what men need is related to how they deal with and express themselves in mental health matters. For centuries, the expectations of many societies have been for men to keep quiet and get on with it. Some interesting studies have put down men’s inability to express themselves with their feelings down to the traditional gender roles associated with hunting and gathering. In the time of prehistory, it was typically men who hunted and women who gathered. In this system, men would group together and hunt wild animals, and women would forage. At the end of the day, they would come together and share the spoils of the day in one big meal.
When women worked together to forage for berries and other food, they could socialise more freely and communicate while vital work was being completed. As for the men, they found themselves in situations where they would have to keep quiet for hours, sometimes days on end, to prevent scaring away the animals they were hunting. Fast forward to the present day, and it’s easy to see why this theory on communication might hold water. The facts show that men are less inclined to open up about their mental health than women.
A number of charities and initiatives have been set up to help get men talking. Places, like Speak Act Change, serve as being highly valuable for those who are in need. For some men, speaking about their problems out loud can come as a challenge, so having the opportunity to air their views in the written word, even anonymously, can have long-term value. It’s important that the resources are in place to support those who open up for the first time.
Men also need to be able to take care of themselves through physical exercise. Scientific studies have shown a clear and pertinent link between being active in your life and having good mental health. The endorphins and other chemicals that are released during physical activity are highly valued by the brain and help to maintain a balance that leads to long-term good mental health. Team sports also give men the chance to spend time with one and other, creating opportunities to socialise and share problems in an environment that is more comfortable.
Some young men can have trouble with sports due to physical problems. Any man reading this article today will know the untold frustration that comes with not taking part in your favourite sport because you are injured or suffering from long term pain. Fortunately, there are surgery options available to those who might be experiencing pain in their knees that prevent them from leading the lifestyle they want. Making that leap into treatment is the first step to regaining control of your life and taking part in all the activities you enjoy.
There might not be as many opportunities to undertake in physical activity and team sports for some men. It’s perfectly understandable if you feel that this is not suited to your personality. Earlier in this article, we mentioned the value of sharing problems anonymously on the internet. This works for some men, but not everyone. Teaching yourself to open up and share your concerns can appear overwhelming, but it’s not impossible.
For some who really struggle on this front, it might be an idea to consider therapy. The idea of going to therapy holds an unfair reputation, but it doesn’t carry the same weight as it did even ten years ago. Many men overcame the idea of seeking help through therapy by considering it part of a regular health check. If you sprained an ankle, you would visit the doctor; why not do the same for your own mental wellbeing? Hopefully, some of the advice outlined in today’s article will help you find an appropriate avenue to seek help should you need it now or in the future.