Men's Mental Wellbeing Needs More Attention

The stigma around mental health and fear that help-seeking will be seen as weakness, remains to be a significant barrier when dealing with men's mental and emotional wellbeing.

Michelle Keir-Sanderson

2/3/20242 min read

Men's Mental Wellbeing Needs More Attention

Historically, there has been a significant stigma surrounding the topic of men's mental health. This stigma and the ingrained fear that seeking help will be seen as ‘weak’, remains to be a significant barrier for a lot of men. The restriction of emotional expression and willingness to accept or seek help, impacts significantly on men's physical, emotional and mental health, as well as adversely impacting their important relationships.

How does the stigma manifest?

1.    Traditional notions of masculinity – this often discourages men from expressing vulnerability or seeking help for mental health issues. There's a cultural expectation for men to be stoic, strong, and self-reliant, which can make it difficult for them to admit when they're struggling emotionally.

2.    Social Expectations - being perceived as weak or less masculine if they acknowledge their mental health struggles. This fear of judgment can prevent them from reaching out for support or discussing their feelings openly.

3.    Lack of Awareness and Education - not recognising the symptoms of mental health conditions or understand the importance of seeking help. Without adequate education and awareness, they may struggle in silence rather than seeking the assistance they need.

4.    Limited Access to Support Services - even when men do recognize the need for help, they may encounter barriers to accessing mental health services. This could include long wait times for appointments, a shortage of male mental health professionals, or concerns about confidentiality and privacy.

5.    Cultural and Ethnic Barriers - within Australia's diverse population, cultural and ethnic factors can also influence attitudes towards mental health. Some cultural norms may further stigmatize mental illness or discourage help-seeking behaviour.

Unfortunately, many men with depression and/or anxiety tend to deny or hide their feelings, and instead of showing emotions (such as sadness or fear), it can often present as anger, obsessiveness and controlling behaviour. Reliance on alcohol, drugs or gambling to cope may also increase considerably. Some may withdraw and isolate themselves by over-working or continuously finding isolated projects to do.

What is the Impact of Men's Mental Health

The impact of denying distress can present negatively in many forms - physically, mentally, emotionally and in relationships.

  • Physical Health - High blood pressure, Heart issues, Abdominal upsets, Muscle aches, Headaches.

  • Psychological and Emotional health - Depression, Insomnia, Anger, Addiction, Irritability, Panic/Anxiety.

  • Relationship difficulties - Unresolved conflicts, Inability to be intimate, Poor communication, Controlling behaviour, Withdrawal, Aggression.

Watch the EMCS YouTube video on Men's Mental Health

How can you help?
  • Normalise seeking support. Provide resources – including support services and information about mental health issues.

  • Encourage them to speak to their GP, a counsellor, MensLine, or any other support that is appropriate and available.  

  • Talk openly about the negative consequences in not finding help or being honest with how they feel.   

  • Often to sit and listen – you don’t have to ‘fix’ their issues. Just lending an ear can make a significant difference.

By addressing these factors, Australia can work towards reducing the stigma surrounding men's mental health and promoting healthier attitudes and behaviours.

 Contact EMCS today for further support for yourself or a person you are concerned about.