How does being a man make you more likely to suffer from Mental Illness?
There is an interesting argument in The Guardian regarding the effect being a man can have on your mental health. The article talks about a film call ‘The Mask You Live In’ which deals with boys opinions towards feelings and if it is ok to show them.
Recent statistics have indicated that more men than women are affected by mental health in terms of suicide and binge drinking. It also indicates that this is because boys and men are not encouraged to show their emotions like the opposite sex are.
Boys are encouraged at an early age to ‘be a man’ and not to show fear or sadness. Researchers believe that this holding on of emotion is the reason more men develop mental health issues.
As a man, I had to really think about this, because I can’t ever remember being told to man up or not to cry. Of course, that doesn’t mean it never happened, but since I was raised by my mum from age 7, this seems unlikely.
I don’t readily show my emotions, but maybe I have been influenced by media and television rather than my parents? There are many male role models that are strong and dependable, who you would never see cry.
Does my problems with anxiety stem from lack of emotion? Have I bottled up all my feelings so that there is no outlet? I don’t really know, but the fact that many counsellors encourage you to talk about how you are feeling, maybe there is a point.
What do you think?