Is the Pressure of Being a “Man” Affecting Your Mental Health?

Men are less likely to address and seek help for mental health issues – research shows that women seek help from professionals regarding mental health at around double the rate.

These stats show that men are underdiagnosed regarding mental health and are not as frequently treated. This can lead to men resorting to coping strategies that are harmful to health.  

The reason for the discrepancy between the sexes could lie in societal pressure – the Western expectations of “what a man should be” which can lead to men avoiding seeking help regarding their mental health for fear it would be unacceptable.  

Differences in symptoms between men and women can also be a cause as men tend to “externalise,” and their issues manifest as aggression, risk-taking, poor impulse control and hyperactivity. These behaviours are not typically associated with issues like depression, sadness or anxiety, compared to the more common “internalising,” symptoms. This can lead to misdiagnosing mental health issues in men, making it more difficult for males to identify their issues and seek help.  

While most of the changes required to tackle the gender mental health gap require research, policy change and population-level intervention, we can still help others and ourselves. Understanding that men cultured in masculine norms may be averse to opening up and discussing negative feelings allows us to be proactive in helping those that need it.  

So, while the statistics on men’s mental health seem bleak, you can still take control. Exercise, diet and lifestyle are key.  

When sedentary individuals increase their physical activity, they reduce their chances of depression by 45% and it is estimated that as little as 60 minutes of exercise per week could prevent 12% of depression cases each year.  

Research also shows that individuals who consume a Mediterranean diet, including more vegetables, lean meats and healthy fats, are 33% less likely to develop depression compared to those adhering to a conventional western diet.  

Most importantly, do not be afraid to seek help for your issues and take the necessary steps to improve your mental health and wellbeing. 

Did you know men are less likely than women to seek help for mental health issues – as a result many men are underdiagnosed and are not as frequently treated, resorting to harmful coping strategies. 

The reason for the discrepancy between the sexes could lie in societal pressure – the western expectations of “what a man should be” which can lead to men avoiding seeking help for fear it would be unacceptable. 

While most of the changes required to tackle the gender mental health gap require research, policy change and population-level intervention, we can still help others and ourselves with healthier lifestyle changes. 

It is estimated that as little as 60 minutes of exercise per week could prevent 12% of depression cases each year and when sedentary individuals increase their physical activity, they reduce their chances of depression by 45%.  

Research also shows that individuals who consume a Mediterranean diet, including more vegetables, lean meats and healthy fats, are 33% less likely to develop depression compared to those adhering to a conventional Western diet.  

Most importantly, not being afraid to seek help for your issues and taking the necessary steps to improve your mental health is a key.  

Here are 6 more strategies that can help you improve your mental health.