Is it self stigma that prevents men from seeking out mental health care, or is it societal stigma?
Let’s consider that it’s both.
“Importantly, the discourse surrounding men’s mental health tends to focus on the internal stigma of affected men, who are often depicted as self-destructively stubborn and silent in the face of mental illness. This narrow focus can sometimes descend into a victim-blaming discourse. As such, it is important to broaden the focus to consider external stigma by examining negative attitudes and prejudicial stereotypes elsewhere in society.”
As much as we can tell men that it’s actually strong to ask for help, and talk about their struggles, when so much of society is still telling them to “man up”, ignoring the signs of struggle, and making assumptions based on nothing more than gender, there will still be a huge struggle to get men to help.
The article below is a good read, with some prime examples of men trying to reach out about their mental health, being met with stigma from medical professionals, and within their own families. That stigma is not going to go away, no matter how much we tell men it’s OK to need help. Those situations will require bigger changes than that, and more work.