With frenetic schedule and tad bit or no time to spend on ourselves, Mental Health has become a massive issue. The technological world has detached us from ourselves, our friends and families. In the midst of all this, an issue Men’s Mental Health is evidently talked about at a lower level.
Notwithstanding the fact that we can find thousands of researches about Mental Health online but to get to know about the topic in a better and innovative way, I asked around 65 males around me a few questions related to Mental Health, in which saddening it is that only 50 tried to take part.
Here is what I accumulated-
(Question) Have you or any of your male friend ever suffered from any kind of mental illness?
(Answer) 60% people answered that yes they or their friends suffered from it.
(Question) Did you or him seek professional support?
(Answer) Out of those 30 people, only 40% sought professional support.
(Question) Did you or him tell your/his parents or friends?
(Answer) Out of 30 people, 26% told their friends, 17% told their parents and 56% faced it by themselves.
(Question) What was the reason for not disclosing?
(Answer) Top 5 reasons were –
- Privacy Reasons
- Social Stigmas ( felt ashamed or felt they’ll be treated as freak)
- Masculine Behaviour
- Lack of experts in their area.
- Felt no one will understand them or Lack of knowledge.
(Question) If in the future you do suffer from some kind of mental disease, will you seek professional help or will you feel reluctant because of stigmas and masculine behaviour expected by men?
(Answer) 54% people replied that they’ll seek professional help.
(Question) Do you think Men might feel reluctant in seeking help?
(Answer) 90% people replied in the affirmative.
The reasons were-
- They try solving problems on their own
- They are told since childhood to be strong and hide their emotions.
- It is a way they are brought up in the society that has made it embarrassing and fearful to confess about their emotions.
- Mental Health issues aren’t that discussed so both the gender will feel reluctant.
- They think they are strong enough to face it on their own.
- Less awareness, busy schedules and the masculine behaviour of Mard ko Dard nahi Hota (Men doesn’t feel pain-A common saying in India)
- They’ll be considered weak in the society as men are stereotyped to be ‘strong.’
- Nobody will understand the situation they are going through.
With Mental Illness already been stigmatised, being a man and having one is definitely a predicament in not just our country but world wide. Just like charity begins at home, so does the gender norms. “Boys don’t cry” “Man up!” “Take it like a man!” these are the common sayings you’ll hear at your homes. Gender roles are determined at home. And when similar homes come in conjunction, they forge a stigmatised society.
Mental Illness in India is affected more by people suffering from “Stigma Illness.” Everything in this world whether it is feminism, mental health, women’s education, sexual identity etc comes fastened with stigmas and taboos. The tag of being “abnormal” or “freak” comes free of cost when you go to see a psychiatrist. Lack of knowledge and awareness among the mass make it troublesome for everyone to seek professional help.
Masculine is a set of attributes, behaviour and roles bracketed with men and boys. These gender norms result in toxic masculinity which is the repressive ideology of adhering to the male gender roles in all sorts of circumstances, limiting the emotions that boys and men may want to express. In India, both men and women suffer from taboos of mental illness but where men are prior to their birth entitled as the brave ones, it definitely becomes a gigantic problem. Toxic Masculine behaviour also leads to abuse of the females. Male consider themselves to be stronger both emotionally and physically. Unfortunately, we are facing this issue even in the modern times.
It’s a fact that can be perceived that boys are pressurised more for their education and career. With unemployment rate already high in our country and with manpower in abundance it worsens the scenario. Both men and women are depressed for their career. A study conducted by ‘The Mental Health Status of Employees in Corporate India’ shows that 1 out of every 2 employ in corporate India suffers from anxiety or depression. Some studies found higher rates of depression among women but correspondingly lower rates of seeking help in men.
Let us now look at statistics of Mental Health of three different countries-
- According to National Mental Health Survey, Every sixth Indian needs mental help.
- A report by World Health Organisation (WHO) shows that 7.5% of Indian population suffers from some form of mental disorder
- Who predicted that by 2020 20% of Indians will be mentally ill with only 4000 experts available. That is roughly around 26 Crore people with less than 1 crore getting professional help.
- The suicide rate in India is 16.4% per 100,000 for women which is 6th highest and 25.8% for men ranking 22nd in the world. India has the highest suicide rate in South East Asia with apparently little strategy to control it.
- According to the Mental Health Foundation, in England around 1 in 8 men have common mental health problem however most of them are reluctant to seek support or disclose this to their loved ones.
- The report also describes that Suicide is the largest cause of death among men under age 50.
- In 2017, 5821 suicides were recorded in Great Britain among which 75% were males.
- 1 in 3 men in the UK have experienced suicidal thoughts as a result of feeling stressed.
United States of America.
- According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, men died by suicide at a rate of 3.54% higher than women in 2017.
- Psychology Today shows 75% of suicide victims are male with one man killing himself every twenty minutes
- Mental Health America reports 6 million men are affected by depression every year.
- Nearly 1 in 10 men experience depression and anxiety.
Mental illness is prevalent in both the genders and there is a stoppage of treatment or help due to stigmas. We need to shape a society free of taboos and stigmas in which each of us can easily seek help. What’s more vital is teaching your boys to be soft as well, to unveil their emotions and to cry when they feel like it. To everyone out there, talk to your friends and families when you think you need them. Believe in them but first believe in yourself. You can come out stronger from these situations if you put blind trust yourself. Let us fight together to #breakthestigma !
“What kind of a man would I sound like if I told somebody I’m so sad I’m crippling sad. I can’t get out of bed. I’m empty. Help me. I’d be sissy. I’d be soft. That’s what you are taught and that’s what killls us” – Wayne Brady , Comedian.