What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, and more unashamed conversation.” – Glenn Close.
Mental health issues are issues that affect the entire family, the entire family must be involved in sustaining a lasting solution – Tayo El-Nathan
The lack of discussion and awareness of mental health issues affecting the lives of our men especially during this pandemic season is baffling. There is a lot of talk about women, women of color, but not a lot of support for men and especially men of color. They say the reason this is so is because men are in the fore front of business, policy and economy so therefor, they do not represent a vulnerable sector of the population. Be that as it may, however, what also happens is that majority of the violent crimes perpetuated against women are done by men, men who are not considered vulnerable but are known as aggressors. Sometimes, it is when these men are apprehended by the law, that their mental health issues are diagnosed. It is often too late by now.
- There is also the flip side of the coin, of hardworking men, men who are just trying to make a living and especially men of color who have come to North America in their midlife and have to deal with mid-life crises while trying to raise a family, hold a job and settle down. This is a recipe for mental health crises whether is be depression, addiction or excessive anger.
It is important to define what a mental health crisis is because, of the stigma related to it. Mental health means everything aspect of your mind, reasoning, and logic. It does not necessarily mean that once you have a mental-health crisis you have gone mad or you have lost your mind. Its important to note that mental health issues are wide and encompassing and we as a people and as men should begin the discussion that these issues are real and that they exist. Once, we can come to this moment of truth then we can come address the needful because you see, mental health is as important as taking care of the rest of your body.
To fully address mental health in the modern man, we need to come away from some of the “macho” assumptions that has led to the unnecessary stigma especially within the immigrant community. Having a mental health moment does not mean you are crazy, but not addressing it will make you crazy!. Everyone has issues, everyone needs to take into consideration they mental health state. We are going through a pandemic for goodness sakes, these are unprecedented times. Children have issues, women have mental health issues and so does men. In putting together is piece, Let’s come away from this mentality that the modern man is sacrosanct and untouched by the happenings going on. Away from the mentality that men who are physically strong are also mentally or that physical strength translates into mental strength.
Let’s come away from the standpoint that it is weakness to admit failure or weakness to ask for help.
Let’s come away from the standpoint that no one, is able to advise us. True, the man is the master of his universe and the commander of all he surveys, – the greatest men still listen to their wives or to someone. Who are you listening to. Who is in your support circle. Do you have a support circle?
Let’s not buy into the status quo that it is weakness to seek help when a man is no longer able to handle the pressures, he is under.
Let’s address the fact that substances (alcohol, smoking, recreational drugs, pornography, gambling), while they produce temporary release and relief, is not the answer to the problem. Let’s agree that there is no help in the bottle, smoke or syringe.
When we can admit and come to the place of total honesty and we are unashamed about the way we feel, our failures, our fears and our shortcomings then are able to tackle and obtain solution for the problem.
The fact is that most immigrant men are not used to been told or been talked to.
Most immigrant men are not used to admitting there is a problem.
It is important to know the signs of mental health especially in men –
According to the National institute of Mental Health, – Men and women can develop most of the same mental disorders and conditions but may experience different symptoms. Some symptoms include:
Anger, irritability, or aggressiveness
Noticeable changes in mood, energy level, or appetite
Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
Difficulty concentrating, feeling restless, or on edge
Increased worry or feeling stressed
Misuse of alcohol and/or drugs
Sadness or hopelessness
Feeling flat or having trouble feeling positive emotions
Engaging in high-risk activities
Aches, headaches, digestive problems without a clear cause
Obsessive thinking or compulsive behavior
Thoughts or behaviors that interfere with work, family, or social life
Unusual thinking or behaviors that concern other people.
There is great news! There is good news. There is hope. Mental health will not destroy us any longer.
For the rest of this article, please it on the latest edition of LadiesCornerMagazine. It is on our landing page.