Over the past two years, Wellspring has continued to serve the community by expanding behavioral health services across Michigan. During this time, we have come face-to-face with the stigma that surrounds mental health. And the only way we can combat it is with your help.
In today’s fast-paced world, mental health is a crucial aspect of overall well-being. Seeking support for mental health struggles should be a universal right for everyone, regardless of gender. However, the stigma surrounding men and their pursuit of mental health treatment remains a significant barrier.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, men are less likely than women to receive mental health treatment. In 2020, only 37.4% of men with a mental health condition sought professional help, compared to 57.5% of women.
Despite progress in recent years, there is still a prevailing stigma that discourages men from seeking mental health treatment. Society often imposes rigid expectations of masculinity, perpetuating the notion that men should be strong, stoic and self-reliant. Consequently, many men feel reluctant to acknowledge their emotional struggles or ask for help, fearing it may be perceived as a sign of weakness.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reports that men die by suicide at a rate approximately 3.5 times higher than women. This discrepancy can be attributed in part to men’s reluctance to seek mental health support.
Here’s how you can help. Engaging in open and supportive conversations with the men in your life can make a significant difference in breaking the stigma around men’s mental health. It’s specifically helpful when men take the time to check in on other men.
How do you do that in a meaningful way? Our Wellspring therapists have developed this list of conversation starters to help you create supportive conversations with males (and females) in your life:
- How have you been feeling lately? Is there anything on your mind?
- How are you coping with the stressors in your life? I know life can get overwhelming sometimes.
- How do you know when things seem “off” in your life?
- What do you enjoy doing to relax and unwind?
- Have you noticed any changes in your sleep patterns or appetite?
- What sources of support do you have in your life, and are they helping you?
- How do you manage your work-life balance? Do you feel overwhelmed?
- Have you considered seeking professional help or support?
Being intentional to create time and space for these important conversations is key. If you are going to take the time to truly check in on someone, please make sure you are able to be fully present and free from distractions. Here are a few reminders:
- Leave your cell phone in your car or pocket.
- Go to a space that feels safe for both of you. Sometimes going for a walk or grabbing a cup of coffee together is best.
- Make it a conversation and not an interview. Vulnerability is difficult.
- Don’t solve their problem. Just listen and hear what they are trying to say.
- Schedule a time to check back in with them.
- If their problem is life threatening or urgent, don’t leave the meeting without seeking additional help for them.
Remember, checking in on someone’s mental health is just the beginning of addressing the stigma around mental health.
If our Wellspring therapists can be a support to you, please reach out to our counseling team at wellspringtherapists.com.
National Institute of Mental Health (2020). Men and Mental Health.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (2021). Suicide Statistics.
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