The following post is an extract from my collaboration with Lisa over at Mind & Body Intertwined (https://mindandbodyintertwined.com/). Please check out her blog and follow her on Twitter (@Mindandbodyint1)
As with many things, there is a huge difference between how men and women are treated, especially regarding mental health issues. Someone who speaks out about this is Joey from Concealed Voices. He was so kind to tell something about it here.
Over to Joey:
I ask myself every day – why is there a stigma towards men’s mental health?
I opened up my feelings back in January in the hope to encourage other men to speak out and realise there’s no shame in admitting your flaws. I’ve received nothing but love and support from people from all walks of life. However, I rarely get messages from men. Why are they hiding in the shadows? It’s a question I don’t think I’ll ever fully answer. Maybe men read my blog but do it discreetly because a majority still consider talking about their mental health as some ridiculous taboo. Unfortunately, that mindset is a contributing factor to the rise in men committing suicide. I hope my blog will break down barriers one day but it’s going to be a long journey.
I do think there is a missing link between raising awareness and taking action. We see it all the time on TV nowadays with celebrities speaking out on the subject. I do believe some are genuine with their words, but others will jump on the bandwagon for a paycheque. It’s easy to read a script but it won’t make someone with anxiety any more likely to find a sudden surge of confidence to dial a number and seek help.
The government continue to promote different schemes but I feel nothing will change unless it’s compulsory to educate children (and maybe even classes at college/university) on the psychology & science behind mental health behaviour. You can’t just pump money into different projects & expect results. There needs to be an overhaul to the system. It’s time the country comes together but it starts with the people we elect into parliament.
As Joey just mentioned, a lot of education about mental health is missing. Many people have no idea what their symptoms can mean or how to deal with strong feelings. That is why there was a project to educate children in high school about psychology. Another organisation that is fighting against the stigma around mental health is EFPSA through their Mind the Mind campaign. They send psychology students (volunteers) to schools around Europe to talk about mental health.
If you are experiencing issues yourself, we urge you to seek professional help. You can contact your general practitioner or look for a psychologist near you. In case you think this is too much for now, there are also some helplines you can call. Here are some in The Netherlands, the U.K. and the U.S. you can call, but there are also telephone lines like this in other countries. There are also often lines that are specific to certain disorders.
De Luisterlijn: 0900 0767
113 zelfmoordpreventie: 0900 0113
The United Kingdom:
MIND: 0300 123 3393
Rethink Mental Illness: 0300 5000 927
The United States:
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): 1-800-950-6264
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): 866 615-6464
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Both me and Joey find it very important to share this information and we both hope it will help you if you are in pain, but you are too afraid to ask. You are not alone and it is okay to have problems, everyone does and many people struggle with the same as you.
If you have tips for other people coming to this blog, please share your tips in the comments below and if you know of a friend in need, please pass on this information to them. If we can help each other, we can overcome the stigma!
Lots of love,
Joey and Lisa