Men's Mental Health
Today we have another guest post from our friendly neighborhood guest blogger, Elijah Greenwood. Men have been taught for too long that they're weak if they show emotion or have poor mental health. This only leads to worse mental health! Men, it's okay to feel what you feel, and get help when you need it.
Yes, I am indeed a man. And yes, I do have mental health issues. These two things are not, in fact, mutually exclusive - as most of the world seems to think they are. As a man, I am allowed to have anxiety. As a man, I am allowed to have depression. And who are you, society, to decide that my masculinity is altered by these things? Who are you to tell me that I can not possess and express my feelings and emotions? Or that I cannot possibly break down or go into a mental spiral? Who are you to decide that my gender defines my mental status?
All throughout my younger years, I was told by both society, and professionals, that I couldn’t possibly have mental health issues based on one thing: what’s in my pants. I was told that to have anxiety and depression made me less of a man. I was told that when I was being emotionally and mentally abused, that I just needed to man up and take it. And that the after effects of that abuse couldn’t possibly exist. Like my penis was the equivalent of an anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medication. But being told these things didn’t make the anxiety, depression, and PTSD go away. In fact, it made it much worse.
Based on a recent study done by the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization, suicide among males is 4x’s higher than among females. And male deaths represent 79% of all US suicides. Suicide takes the lives of over 44,965 Americans every year. That means that of that 44,965 people, about 35,523 are men. And yet, when you see a mental health poster or a picture on social media, it always seems to be directed toward women. Please don’t get me wrong...I believe that women’s mental health matters very much as well but what if we advertised to each sex equally? What if we stopped making men feel as though their mental health determines their level of masculinity and stop breaking them down instead of building them up? Why can’t we stop treating men like they don’t have emotions and feelings, like some kind of robot? The answer to these questions is quite simple: we can. But society has to change in order for this to be accomplished. YOU can help in that task.
So, as a reminder: what’s in your pants doesn’t matter. Your mental health does not determine or control your masculinity or femininity. You have a right to your mental health, as well as your feelings and emotions. You have a right to express those feelings and emotions openly, without fear of retaliation. And finally, you matter. Whether you’re male, female, or somewhere in between, you are here for a reason and I’m happy that you’re here.
Elijah Greenwood, 2018