June is Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness and promoting dialogue about the unique mental health challenges faced by men, and advocating for their efficacy in receiving the help and support they need and deserve. Men’s mental health is marked by significant challenges. According to Mental Health America (MHA, 2023) over 6 million men a year experience depression, and over 3 million men meet criteria for an anxiety disorder every year, yet half do not seek therapeutic services. Furthermore, 10% of individuals with an eating disorder are men, and men exhibit higher rates of substance abuse (SAMHSA, 2020).
Societal stereotypes faced by men, that they should be “strong” and “invulnerable” leads to undue societal pressure on men to suppress their emotions, promoting the idea that men should be tough, self-reliant, independent, and stoic. This often results in a reluctance of men to express their emotions openly, share when they are struggling and seek help and support. As a result, they are often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, and unable to receive the care they need, negatively impacting their lives as well as the lives of their families and society at large. Addressing these statistics necessitates open dialogue, compassionate conversations, de-stigmatization efforts, and improved access to tailored mental health resources for men.
Let’s use Men’s Mental Health Awareness month as a springboard to prioritize men’s mental health and pave the way for healthier, happier lives by offering an inclusive environment where men can feel empowered to express themselves and access support without fear of judgement or criticism.