Men's Mental Health in Aberdeen, South Dakota

Changing the Stigma in Men’s Mental Health

Mental Health has been slowly becoming a big topic in the mainstream. Celebrities and athletes are using their platforms to share and educate others  about their own struggles in mental health. Youth have created a movement in mental health by demanding more rights, access to services and support from our government.  It has been easier to see more hope in the future of mental health especially in acceptance that it is just as important as our physical health. However, we are still a bit behind in helping men to feel more comfortable and confident in identifying that they too have it and then to see a mental health provider.

 For most persons, it is difficult to reach out when help is needed, but the stigma for men has been an historical issue. Men have been told, raised or  have internalized that when asking for help from others would mean they were a failure or weak. In this part of the country we have a big farming community. It is no secret that the farming industry for some has been a difficult one over the past several years. For  some male farmers it is the culture of ‘picking up your boot straps and carry on!’ For some it may be that our ‘family issues stay in the family’ With the rise of a younger generation of farmers there has been some improvement of engaging in mental health support in addition to marital counseling. The numbers may show a higher percentage of woman suffering from anxiety or depression, mainly due to the that fact that woman are more likely to engage in therapy and be diagnosed then men. According to a published study by The American Journal of Men’s Mental Health 2/2022  a key challenge for combating men’s mental illness stigma and discrimination is to address the subtle everyday ways in which particular gendered attitudes and expectations of men curb their help-seeking and heighten the risk for severe mental illness. This requires addressing gender norms and structures that host and house stigma at multiple levels—institutions, the general public, health professionals, family and men themselves.

So, how are we to help change the stigma? We can start by normalizing that we all have mental health and at times it is not always healthy. We need men to start sharing with other men about how they are are coping with hardships. We need companies to start incorporating mental health wellness and awareness as a part of their community. Creating spaces for men to participate in discussions that allow them the opportunity to express themselves in a safe and comfortable space.  For our first responders and military men who are trained to compartmentalize the hard things that they see and engage with, to incorporate more language about mental health and provide or require space for processing and normalizing mental health language.  By reframing mental illness issues by likening them to physical health issues or as part of everyday life enabled some men to destigmatize the ailment and access potential remedies (Scholz et al., 2017Ward & Besson, 2012).

Men’s mental health awareness is a slow moving movement, but nonetheless a movement. There is a lot to speak on in regards to this topic and many studies have been conducted. Men’s overall health plays a factor to their mental health. Hormones or deficiency issues with Vitamin D or B12 and a list of  other things that could be helped easily by talking to your medical provider. If there are any issues with any of these could cause anxiety and depression or an increase in these symptoms for men and woman.

For more on the study cited in this blog please review here.

If you or someone you know are interested seeing a clinical therapist or a medical provider here at Conklin Clinics call us today!

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