Mental Health Awareness: Men, Mental Health & Emotional Literacy
by Alessia H.
May 16, 2022
4 MIN READ
Continuing on from Mental Health Awareness Week🧠, we will be sharing more information with help from our friends at @tulawellbeing. We have been sharing information about different mental health related topics every week. This week’s theme is ‘Men, Mental Health and Emotional Literacy’.
Charlie holds a masters in Positive Psychology and coaching, and is the author of MAN DOWN: A Guide for Men on Mental Health. Here is what he had to say when he was interviewed for a podcast recently.
Male mental health is especially important to discuss in this post pandemic period. Men tend to isolate and hide their emotions anyway, and were forced to do so even more in the midst of the pandemic through isolation. There needs to be more talk about this and about men becoming emotional literate in order to encourage them to speak up 🗣️
Mental health affects both men and women, however, men tend to be more prone to putting up a front and hiding what’s on the inside.
The word ‘masculinity’ usually describes strength and power. The term ‘alpha male’ focuses on the powerful men in society and often describes a lot of the leaders in the western world.
As children boys are told “take it like a man” and “boys don’t cry” which has an effect on them throughout their lives.
Stereotypically, women are much better at speaking up and talking about their emotions than men. For example, when a woman has gone through a breakup, they will be more likely to phone a friend and talk about it, whereas a man is less likely to and more inclined to keep it in and not process his emotions with others.
It’s all about raising awareness around emotional health and having role models. We need more people demonstrating that it is ok to talk about our emotions. Having more open conversations and role models speaking about this will help reduce the stigma around the topic of men’s mental health. Hopefully hearing more people speak openly about their mental health will encourage men to open up and do the same 🗣️
“Vulnerability breathes vulnerability” essentially means that if one person is comfortable in an environment to speak up and be vulnerable, the next person is more inclined to do so as well.
If companies integrated these concepts they would have a more content team where people are able and comfortable to deal with their ups and downs as they have a strong support network. The companies would have higher performing teams as psychologically safe teams tend to perform better.
People will become more open when they are ready to do so, therefore it is important to slowly, little by little create a space where they are comfortable to do so. This will not be a quick change. We need to make fundamental changes to society to allow all men to eventually feel comfortable enough to open up more. Some people will take a longer time than others.
A good way to reflect on your life and what you’re happy and less happy about is by writing down all the things you miss and all the things you don’t miss doing. Then the idea is that you start changing your priorities and focus to ensure you are doing more of what you miss doing and less of what you don’t miss/enjoy doing as much.
Photo by M Venter from Pexels