Mental health problems do not see any gender and can happen to anybody. 

Culturally and traditionally, women have been regarded as “talkers”, while men are expected to be stoic and just bear it. 

Even with all the encouraging discussion happening across all spaces regarding mental health, you would see that men still find it difficult to be open about their struggles. 

Here are some of the most common reasons why men do not talk about their mental health:

1. It is culturally looked down upon for men to share their feelings. Some studies have shown that men with typical masculine traits are more likely to have disturbed mental health, and they are less likely to seek help. 

Often, men try to hide the signs of any emotional problem, because they are taught from a young age that it is not masculine. As a result, they resist getting the help they need, until eventually, matters turn dire. 

They might become violent due to pent up emotional distress, turn to drugs or alcohol, and may even become suicidal. 

2. Men feel embarrassed due to the stigma around mental health. According to the cultural archetype, men are supposed to be “strong”, and mental health issues do not affect them. I

t is considered shameful if men express what they feel. Discussing mental health issues is considered to be a sign of weakness, discouraging men from opening up about their struggles.

Many times, even when men decide to express themselves, they might not know how to do it and this again, limits their options for reaching out. 

3. They find different ways of dealing with mental health issues. Although mental health issues such as stress are common in both men and women, how they show it is different. 

Men can demonstrate it as anger, frustration, or impulsivity which are often not considered as signs of stress. 

Sometimes, men also opt for other measures to deal with stress, such as exercising, online gaming, or any other physical activity.

4. Men seek help when there is a chance of reciprocity. A majority of men think that asking for help is a sign of weakness. Men try to fix things on their own at first. 

However, they might ask for help if they know that there is a chance of reciprocity; that is when they know that they have an opportunity to return the favour. 

This dynamic is usually not applicable in professional mental health services, causing hesitancy in men towards seeking help. 

5. Mental health issues can be hard to understand if you have not experienced them yourself. Men do not have many examples in front of them, talking about what anxiety, stress, depression, etc., sound and feel like. 

Research also suggests that men who are unable to speak openly about their feelings may not be able to recognise symptoms of mental health issues in themselves. 

6. Awareness strategies are not aimed specifically at men. Research indicates that men respond better to humour than to softer and more emotional mental health language. 

Many mental health awareness campaigns fail to take this aspect into account, and cannot engage men successfully, leading men to feel awkward or vulnerable when discussing these issues.

Remember, talking about your problems, or expressing your emotions does not make you a weak person. Your partner, best friend, parents, or licensed therapist are some of the people you could talk to. 

Disclaimer: This article is written by the Practitioner for informational and educational purposes only. The content presented on this page should not be considered as a substitute for medical expertise. Please "DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE" and seek professional help regarding any health conditions or concerns. Practo will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.