How Relationships Affect Men's Health
Men's mental health receives little attention, hence, not discussed enough. However, men are more than twice as likely as women to have problems related to substance abuse, men are more likely than women to suffer from mental health disorders in all categories, and men are more likely to commit suicide.
These kinds of mental health responses are known as internalizing reactions; they are the kinds of reactions to mental health issues that an individual experiences within that lead to personal injury. In addition to externalizing their reactions to mental health problems, men are more inclined to carry out violent crimes and commit partner violence.
People who struggle with mental health issues not only hurt themselves, but also the people around them. Therefore, the world will suffer when men have mental health challenges at such a high rate. Because of this, men's mental health must be closely studied along with empathy and creative methods or fresh ways to better address the mental health issues men are faced with.
Contact JarvisHypnotherapy to help you find your way regarding men’s mental health and relationship issues.
Healthy Relationships and Men's Mental Health
An immense number of studies indicate the critical importance of social interactions for our mental health and overall well-being. It is extensively studied that social connections serve as a safety net against stressful life situations (Åslund, Larm, Starrin, & Nilsson, 2014; Maulik, Eaton, & Bradshaw, 2010; Raffaelli et al., 2013), reduce the inclination to commit suicide (Kleiman, Riskind, & Schaefer, 2014), and increase the chance of seeking help when we need it (Andrea, Siegel, & Teo, 2016).
Like any other human, men want to be able to express themselves, feel heard and supported, and be shown compassion and understanding. However, research studies have indicated that although men desire this, they oftentimes do not believe that many people in their social circles can provide it (Liang and George (2012). Men typically think that they can talk to women or family about their problems, but if they do not have women or family who are there to support and listen to them, they might feel extremely isolated or alone.
The problem is not that men don't want social support; rather, it's usually that figuring out how to accept it has become difficult for them due to the environments in which they have learned to interact and relate.
The "compartmentalization" of emotions that males are expected to exhibit is one explanation for this. This implies that boys are taught from an early age that talking about feelings is only acceptable when doing so with women, such as their mother, sister, or girlfriend. As a result, men are uncomfortable discussing their feelings with other individuals in their lives.
Because of compartmentalization, it becomes harder to build rich, meaningful relationships with various individuals, which can frequently put undue pressure on the women in their lives to be their only outlet. If they’re not able to, or do not, have a strong relationship with a woman, they may not have anyone with whom to share their struggles.
Men engage in "policing" one another as well. This means that males who do decide to seek out and communicate their feelings to other guys can experience ridicule, rejection, or mockery for showing their vulnerability or sensitivity.
Men not only experience this response from other men, but also from the women in their lives. When men show vulnerability by expressing feelings of sadness, doubts, confusion, and fear, women may respond with contempt saying things like "start acting like a man!" or "men aren't supposed to act this way!".
Because of this social construct, there is an increased risk of emotional compartmentalization and a burrowing effect, which could lead men to be more and more internalized in their own mental health.
How can we help?
The gendered stereotype of males as "less emotional," "more tough," and "problem solvers" needs to be challenged and changed, as men are also people who need support, love, and help.
To do this, we need to modify the kind of language we use when talking about and engaging with the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of men. A part of this involves paying attention to our words to ensure that we are not demeaning the men in our life for having emotions, dealing with uncertainty, or asking for help. Expressing empathy can be immensely powerful when a male friend, family member, or partner discloses their struggles and difficulties. Assure them that they are not required nor expected to solve the problem on their own.
We can also work out this issue among our youth by teaching our children that, regardless of gender, it is okay to talk about their feelings and seek help.
Finally, we should let people engage with their mental health situations in ways that suit them best. The goal of addressing men's mental health cannot rely solely on persuading every male to feel inclined to engage in vulnerable and emotionally intimate conversations.
There are numerous other ways to improve mental health in men, which include:
having and developing positive relationships
focusing on health (e.g. exercising, doing outdoors activities with others)
taking time to play
using mindfulness techniques
engaging in projects (whether small ones or meaningful ones)
Read related: Men and Anxiety
Reach out to the experts from JarvisHypnotherapy if you need help with any mental health or relationship issues.
Plus, here are more insights on healthy emotions from JarvisHypnotherapy: Understanding Emotions and How to Defuse Emotional Situations.