Breaking Down the Stigma of Counseling and Men
According to research, men hold more negative attitudes toward psychological help-seeking than women. One of the main reasons is that men have traditionally been raised to ignore their feelings and not show any emotional pain. Almost all traditional beliefs interpret crying and sadness in men as vulnerabilities and weakness. As a result, men tend to bottle up these feelings and emotions, which can lead to severe depression or negative outlets to blow off steam. In today’s post, we’re exploring this emotional sigma and what overcoming it can mean for you.
Why It’s Important to Break Free of Stigma
It’s easy for men to feel that expressing emotions and feelings is abnormal. There also is power in understanding what you’re feeling and why. It’s important to realize that everyone is going through some kind of challenge and we all feel emotions along the way.
When we ignore our emotions, it can lead to depressive thoughts, which, if not handled well, can potentially be quite destructive. This is especially true when people purposely isolate and distance themselves from others. Men often suffer from anxiety and depression which if left untreated it can lead to more serious issues including addiction, alcoholism, and even suicidal thoughts.
Consider these statistics reported by Men’s Health:
- Male suicide is rising so quickly it has been classified as a silent epidemic,
- Men are four times more likely to commit suicide than women,
- Suicide is the second most common cause of death among males between the ages of 10 and 39.
Ignored and bottled-up emotions also impact our physical well-being. Weight gain is one of the most common challenges men dealing with depression experience. The stress hormone cortisol is released by our body when under stress and cortisol promotes weight gain. Depression also often leads to cardiovascular disease. Perhaps that is why men are especially vulnerable and develop these diseases at a higher rate and at an earlier age than women.
Counseling can be an effective treatment for men experiencing anxiety and depression because it can help you better understand emotional reactions and deal with your feelings in a constructive and empowering way.
It’s Okay Not to Be Okay
Consider this: it’s okay not to feel okay. However, there’s a difference between one bad day and chronic dissatisfaction with life which affects your daily routine. Just as you’d go to the doctor’s office for a physical wound or ailment, men also should seek support from a therapist when your heart or mind is not at peace. Counseling can be a way for you to talk with someone who will listen and validate your emotions and thoughts. Understanding and processing emotions can empower you and allow you to focus on productive and beneficial strategies for coping, processing, and thriving. It offers a solution to help you live a happier, more fulfilling life.
When is it time to ask for help?
If you’re concerned someone you care about may be struggling, or you think you need help, here are signs that may indicate a need for professional input:
- Mood changes
- Altered work performance
- Sudden weight changes
- Sadness, hopelessness, or a loss of pleasure
- Physical symptoms, such as headaches and stomach issues
- Burdensome, unresolving relationship problems.