A Man’s Guide to Mental Health
You’ll find a lot of guides for men on the internet. Some of them purport to show men how to whip their bodies into shape (Dad bod, be gone!); others promise to teach “manly” skills like campfire building and charcoal grilling. But precious few guides on the internet aim to teach men something much more useful: how to care for their own mental health.
Unfortunately, that’s not much of a surprise. If there’s one problem with men’s mental health care, it’s that not enough of us understand how important it is — for that matter, some of us carry around preconceptions that make it actively difficult for us to address our own mental health needs.
We’re here to change that. This is a man’s guide to mental health.
Recognize what you’re up against
It’s a “silent epidemic:” Men are suffering from mental illnesses and other mental health conditions at alarming rates, yet few of them are getting the care that they need. Men are far more likely than women to die of suicide, and they are doing so at an alarming clip: 123 men die of suicide every day in the United States. Suicides are a leading cause of death among men, accounting for a larger proportion of male deaths than kidney disease, among other notable diseases.
Why is this happening? The problem seems to be closely associated with our ideas of gender and the expectations that society puts on men. Men, many of us are taught, must be self-sufficient and tough. They hide their feelings (if they have them at all) and take care of business. That’s what heroes do in the movies, after all. Isn’t that what society expects of us?
It isn’t easy to shrug off the stigma that mental health and mental health care have for many men. But that’s what we’re up against. We need to overcome these outdated ideas and get the mental health care that we need.
Mental health and your daily life
Caring for your mental health involves many of the same things as caring for your physical health does. Diet and exercise is one example. Experts say that healthy eating and regular exercise will help your mind as well as your body. Eat junk, and you’ll feel like junk.
Healthy habits are key to your mental health. Pay particular attention to drugs and alcohol, which can drastically affect your mood and your perspective. Addiction is a mental health issue, of course; and even for those who avoid addiction, substances like these can exacerbate other mental health issues.
Your sleep is critical, too. Sleep deprivation is terrible for your mental health, so invest in your sleep by making sure that your sleeping space is cool, quiet, and comfortable. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day — that will help you get into a good sleep cycle.
Getting help when you need it
Your daily habits help keep your body healthy, but you still need to check in with your doctor from time to time. It’s the same with your mind. You should invest in your mental health care.
Therapy is a great way to examine your thought and behavior patterns, say experts who offer individual and group therapy sessions in San Francisco. Therapy isn’t only for those with mental health issues, and it can do wonders for men looking to improve their mindset, their relationships, or even their productivity at work. Group therapy is a great way to hear the perspectives of other men, couples therapy is great for relationships, and individual sessions can offer powerful strategies and insights.
Keep the symptoms of common mental health issues (like depression and anxiety) in mind, and be sure to seek help immediately if you think you may be suffering from a mental illness. Far too often, men avoid getting the help that they need. Don’t let that be you.