This post was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.
Are women more depressed than men? Or could it be that men simply do not report their depression and seek treatment as often as women? And if so, why is that the case?
What we’re talking about here is the male mental healthcare gap. Due to personal and societal pressures, men do not seek help as often as women. And with the Covid-19 pandemic, mental health issues have only been on the rise.
In order to have truly inclusive mental health, the gender gap when it comes to mental healthcare must be filled. But how do we do this?
Read on to learn more about the Male Mental Healthcare gap, including what it is, why it exists, and how we can all help fill the gap.
What’s the Male Mental Healthcare Gap?
Masculinity, and gender in general, is a complex thing. Based upon our gender, society naturally expects certain things of us. These pressures, however, can be tough to deal with, especially if you don’t feel like they are valid for you.
Traditionally speaking, society has maintained a dominant view of masculinity that tends to adhere to the same sorts of stereotypes. A “real” man is rugged, independent, strong, fearless, etc. Above all, he is not weak, emotional (unless it’s anger or jealousy), or vulnerable.
“Man up.” “Boys don’t cry.” When we stop and reflect on depictions of masculinity and our very language, we can see that social conceptions of gender can be quite damaging. After all, it’s very unhealthy to bottle up emotions inside.
That said, things may slowly be changing. For example, the latest Batman film featured the most emotionally vulnerable Bruce Wayne yet.
Nonetheless, many boys and men are still prey to outdated conceptions of masculinity that may severely reduce the probability that they get help for their mental health. So, this article will now look at the specific reasons why this male mental healthcare gap exists.
And if you would like to read more, there are plenty of resources on the topic available through sites such as BetterHelp.
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Why Does the Male Mental Healthcare Gap Exist?
Lack of Resources
Mental healthcare campaigns often depict women and focus on targeting women. As such, boys and men may not feel properly represented and they may not feel like the campaign has anything to do with them.
In addition, popular culture frequently depicts depression among female characters but much les often among male characters.
In general, boys and men lack the necessary resources that can educate them on mental health and encourage them to get the help they need.
Fear of Judgment
Many boys and men are eager to please their male peers and male father figures. They might also be aiming to impress girls and women by acting “manly” or out of the fear of being judged.
This desire for validation and approval, however, can lead to very poor decisions. Chiefly among them would be refusing to get help for mental health concerns because they don’t want to be perceived as emotional or vulnerable.
It is a biological fact that boys and men differ from women in some ways. As such, some boys and men may express their anger in violent, unhealthy ways.
It may so happen that biological differences explain why boys and men may be less likely to want to open up about vulnerability and express their emotions. So, it’s important to keep this aspect in mind in addition to the societal pressures.
How Can We Close the Gap in Male Mental Healthcare?
It is important to educate ourselves about inclusive mental health so that we can help close the gap in male mental healthcare.
In addition, we should actively support and encourage boys and men to get the help they need. We can also stop using clichés about masculinity that do much more harm than good.
Being a man shouldn’t be limited to being one certain way. Gender is fluid, life is fluid, and we should be free to express ourselves.
We need to take this attitude to heart and start changing our society so that boys and men can get the mental healthcare they need, and we can have truly inclusive mental health.
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