There is no ignoring to the fact that mental illness can affect anybody irrespective of your gender, age, ethnicity. If you are diagnosed or suspect yourself with one then the best way is to seek psychotherapy. While that should normally be the case, a new study finds that fewer number of men consider therapy for psychiatric illness compared to women.
This is a problem of utmost concern particularly because a large chunk of the male population is left untreated. Not consulting a professional can cause a further exacerbation of the condition perhaps worsening the symptoms.
What might be the plausible explanation for the phenomena is still not crystal clear. A number of possible reasons can be identified. However, medical experts believe that the general societal stigma is the biggest culprit for fewer men undergoing therapy for psychiatric illness.
Why are men neglecting therapy for psychiatric illness?
According to various documented reports, mental conditions are on the rise particularly anxiety and depression. One such report found that as many as 7 million men suffer from chronic depression. Moving one step ahead, the suicide rate stands at 4% higher for men than women, making the cause one of the leading causes of deaths for the former gender.
While the figures as unfortunate as they seem, there is a slight bit of a problem: underreporting!
It is widely held that the official documented cases should be much higher than the current record states. That is to say, the total number of men who become a victim for depression exceed 7 million. The problem stemming from the fact that most male individuals would fail to consider therapy for psychiatric illness.
They would simply refuse to see a professional psychotherapist even when there is a dire need to do so. As a consequence, the symptoms continue to worsen making the condition even more complicated.
Part of the problem also arises when accepting your mental illness has become a big taboo for males. The society has rebranded them in such a manner where they are supposed to abide by those norms and values.
Hiding your mental illness has thereby become an essential part of the toxic masculinity culture that the society upholds.
Having said that, several neuro-health experts believe when men come out about their mental illness, they do so with a big heavy heart. Confessing itself seems like a massive hurdle that needs to be overcome. Those who are unable to overcome will fail to undergo therapy for psychiatric illness.
A safe space for men?
American Psychiatric Association has published numerous publications on the failure to report mental illness. From the aforementioned discussion, we have established that problem worsens for males because of the stigma attached.
There is henceforth, a need more so than ever, to create safe spaces for men. These spaces should put the individuals at ease so they can safely describe their conditions.
To do so, as a society, we can take the following steps.
- Encourage men to open up about their feeling instead of bottling up their emotions
- Make it completely acceptable to seek therapy for the psychiatric illness of any sort
- Raise awareness about the issue
- Sideline toxic gender roles that put men under an unnecessary burden.
- Create safe spaces for men in workplaces