Real Men Have Feelings

Society has long-favored the idea of a man who is stoic, brave and doesn’t get too emotional.

The problem is that this ideal also promotes the belief that real men don’t talk about their emotions. Add in how unlikely men are to go to the doctor when something is wrong—whether it’s physical or mental—and you can see how hard it is to be a guy struggling with depression. It’s as if seeking help is a sign of weakness. (It’s not.)

However, a long history of stereotypes has presented men as either emotionless or weak when they do express emotion. In reality, talking about emotions can help men feel better. On average, about 6 million men in the U.S. struggle with depression. It’s important for men to understand they aren’t alone in dealing with mental health.

When men suffer in silence, it can lead to tragic results. The rate of suicide is highest in middle-aged white men and in 2018, men died by suicide three times more often than women.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you have a friend or family member who you suspect is dealing with anxiety, depression or other mental health issues, take the first step and talk to them about it. You can always start the conversation with a confession of your own—maybe talk about something you are trying to work through—and see if that makes them more comfortable opening up in return.

Remind your male family members and friends that it takes courage to admit something is wrong and that therapy and medication can be a huge help, but only if those treatments are sought out.

If you’re struggling with thoughts of suicide or have concerns about a loved one, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255. 

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Photo credit: FG Trade

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