Men have a harder time asking for help than women do, especially when it comes to mental health challenges. Men are more at risk of harming themselves than women when they feel depressed or struggle with a mental health issue, but the biggest barrier remains stigma. The barrier for men is mostly about not looking weak or unmanly if they reach out. Learn about some common barriers for men in seeking treatment for mental health issues and how to support someone who may be struggling.
Get it Together
Commonly, men may find other men and family telling them to ‘get it together,’ or ‘your family needs you,’ which puts more pressure on them to figure things out on their own. Rather than ask if they need help, they are pushed into a corner with their feelings where they cannot do anything about it publicly with the family’s help. They, instead, choose to face them alone until they get out of hand and become unmanageable.
Tip: to support a man better who seems to be struggling, offer to listen. Tell them you are willing to sit down and hear what stresses them out, how you can help, and ask what they need in that moment rather than telling them to pull it together and keep going.
Help is Unnecessary
The outside perspective on people’s lives is often very different than the lived reality. Nobody can ever live inside another person’s head or life to know what they are experiencing. Battling a mental health condition is like pushing through quicksand and never quite going anywhere, but sinking further and further away from other people. The myth that men don’t ask for help can be more harmful to men who need help and pushes them further away from the necessary treatment.
Tip: ask what kind of help they might want or need and offer to do some research. Tell them your concerns and that you care about them and want to see them get help before it’s too late
Mental Illness is a Burden
A barrier to treatment for men is feeling like they are a burden to others in seeking help. Perhaps they are struggling with addiction on top of mental health issues and face stigma, fear, and anxiety around explaining to people their situation. Most likely, family members already know about it (to some extent) and are waiting for the man to ask for help so they can provide what they need.
Tip: let them know they are supported unconditionally and will be supported no matter what they do. They should not feel like a burden because you are there to help them find the help they need to heal.
Men should never feel stigma and shame around asking for help with mental illness and addiction. Unfortunately, the reality is, many do, and don’t seek treatment until it is too late. It is possible to get help and live a full life in spite of the challenges you might face. If you are struggling, reach out and we will help you get your life back on track. Call us to find out more: 512-750-6750.