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Re: I must ask you a question.

How do you think young men can feel more supported with their mental health? What can we do individually and as a society?

 

This is a tough question @j95! I have been thinking about it all week. Here's some of the things I'm thinking about:

 

 

I think issues like this need to generally be solved on three levels Person, Community, Society. 

 

 

Society

On the social level, I actually think equality will help a lot. In our society there is definitely still a fair bit of inequality between genders. I think making the playing field level will mean that males are treated just like all other people instead of having this weird, priveledged and also pretty messed up role in society.

 

I don't have any evidence to back this up, but my theory is that this will free up space in society for different types of maleness beyond the emotionally unavailable one that lives alone while it works to keep the glass ceiling in one piece.

 

If you can be whoever you want to be, and you see yourself as no better or worse off than anyone else, then it's suddenly okay to reach out to everyone else! 

 

I am still thinking through this part of the problem, so feel free to let me know what you think about it!

 

Community 

Obviously we need to create spaces in our communities, online and offline that make it clear that it's acceptable to reach out and that good things will happen to people who have the courage to do so. So there needs to be a bit of a culture change around that.  

 

We need to respond consistently and that's why this is a community level thing. Everyone in every community needs to know more about what to do if someone reaches out for support. Our Young males need to know that if they are going through a tough time, they can talk about it and actually get some support that makes a difference for them. 

 

In the best possible world, people in different communities would pro-actively check in with our young males. Especially if out young males are still worried about what will happen if they dare to have feelings! 

 

 

Personal

Young males need to know that it's okay to ask for help and get support. They need to know about the cookie cutter problem. That society shapes them a certain way and that this isn't all a good thing as it puts a heap of restrictions on what being male means that doesn't . I think that if they know that, they might be less comfortable with giving up parts of who they are to fit in. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Re: I must ask you a question.

Good answers everyone! Seems like everyone's got some great ideas and a lot of them are along common themes which is awesome Smiley Happy

 

So next question... It's along the same lines as the previous one, but let's see if there's any new ideas from looking at it on a bro-to-bro angle:

 

How do you think young men could support each other better with their mental health?

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Re: I must ask you a question.

How do you think young men could support each other better with their mental health?

Being more open with each other, for starters. The big issue it seems with support for young men's mental health is that they are closed off and don't share or talk about how they are feeling. Keeping those feelings bottled up inside can have negative consequences. Young men can support each other by pushing back against the blocks put up around mental health and chat to their mates about it. When one guy starts sharing, another will, and so on. Being brave and strong isn't about keeping things to yourself when you're struggling, it's about speaking up and going for help when you need it, or knowing and taking steps into getting what you need.
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Re: I must ask you a question.

Sorry I'm so late to the party! Here are my quick responses for the first 4 questions. I'll try get to the latest one later Smiley Happy

 

1. What barriers do you or people you know face in taking the first step towards getting help for a mental health problem?
From a young age men aren't taught to deal with emotions or any aspect of mental illness. I know in my case, despite my new found knowledge and awareness of support and programs, I still can't seem to shake these deep seated fears of asking for help and showing vulnerability. I guess that's what happens when you're told "man up" and "boys don't cry" while growing up.

It's also been hard I my case to find a friend to talk to about these things, so I feel isolated and unsupported. Unfortunately, it's not just me who experiences this, but many men do according to a recent report. It's kinda like I needed someone to hold my hand while I got help.


2. What kind of role models do you look up to as a young man? 
Do you think these role models are healthy ones that enhance your wellbeing?
I have never had someone that I could call a role model. The males in my family are alright but I don't exactly want to be like them. I started to follow in their footsteps but it was actually unhealthy as that's not who I am.


3. What are some of the pressures and expectations that young men face in our society? Where do you think they come from and how do they affect mental health?
One pressure is being tough and strong and being able to help other people (eg family) through tough times, without showing weakness. Many of these views come from the wider community, media (in movies, etc) and from families. That's where I learned all the (negative) things about mental health and everything else.


4. How do you think young men can feel more supported with their mental health? What can we do individually and as a society?
Men need to know it is okay to feel and express emotions. That its ok to not have things in control some times. And that its okay to cry. It's great to see a lot of campaigns out there pushing this, but these messages still haven't saturated all of society, and it takes a long to to sink in and create change.

I have been kind of an advocate and supporter of mental health for a couple years now, but I still haven't broken through the fear and the stigma. Looking back my depression probably became severe during middle of high-school 8-9 years ago (who knew that frequent panic attacks and break downs were a sign of poor mental health??), and something that has been with me since childhood, and it's something I never really realised.

There needs to be more effective education and programs at school, and it needs to be incorporated into core curriculum. And targeted when kids are younger. I don't remember a single thing relating from mental health in school..

I feel like the school system is failing everyone with mental health issues and problems..


Individually-
Men need to become ambassadors of positive messages and mental health in our society, to look after themselves and to help those they care about. Not only should governments and organisations encourage positive men's mental health, but community members also need to develop a mentally resilient society from the bottom up.

Re: I must ask you a question.

How do you think young men could support each other better with their mental health?

 

I think they could encourage each other to have open conversations about their mental health. It doesn't have to be a sit down conversation, there are plenty of ways to talk about it such as whilst playing sport, playing video games or even writing songs. If you've got a favourite thing to do, then chances are, you can have a convo whilst doing said thing.

 

Challenge those stereotypes! It might be daunting if there is just one of you, but if there is 2 it may be easier. This will make more people realise that they can do things even if they don't fit that stereotype that comes with it.

 

Basically, have each other's back.

 


My entire life can be described in one sentence: It didn't go as planned and that's okay. ツ

Re: I must ask you a question.

Hi @Richardman, I really liked the answers you gave with respect to men's mental health. There's not much more I can add to the great responses already posted, @Ben-RO and not being a male, I can only comment from a more biased perspective... but I'm certainly sensitive to the issues that male family members and friends have gone through in their mental health. 

I'll give it more of a think!

Re: I must ask you a question.

Not identifying as male doesn't stop me from commenting, @saucydankish Smiley Tongue So don't let that stop you. Smiley Happy

My entire life can be described in one sentence: It didn't go as planned and that's okay. ツ
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Re: I must ask you a question.

Righto, @stonepixie, just a last one then...

How do you think young men could support each other better with their mental health?

 

 

Men have a unique opportunity to connect with each other in ways that might be more supportive. Though that's totally subjective of course, as many people have friends of the opposite sex that they feel comfy discussing personal matters with.

Anyhoo, it's up to young men to start actively checking in on their colleagues, team mates, class mates. Knowing that 'mates look after mates', I think one of the men's MH initiatives proclaims.

 

Removing the stigma through community education is integral, so that men feel heard and their feelings need to be validated!

Young men can support one another by being informed about mental health issues. Men can capitalize on the rapport they have in various male settings, and make it a priority to view good mental health and a positive sincere attitude as a mark of strength and masculinity. And that they trust that we as women value them taking care of their mental health, that we view them just as highly and with respect, when they actively support each other.

 

Ooh it makes me feel very proud and optimistic knowing the men in my circle, as they develop compassion and integrity to care about better mental health, without society stigmatising it.

Re: I must ask you a question.

Awesome insights @saucydankish! I definitely agree that once the remaining social stigma of a young man asking for help with emotional or mental health issues, there will be much less pressure and fear for that person.

 

There's still a long way to go, but it's pretty encouraging seeing the progress that's happened over the last 20 or so years in regards to this!

Re: I must ask you a question.

Thanks everyone for getting behind this chat! Definitely a topic that needs to be talked about and you all helped with it. I really liked hearing everyone's interesting answers and points of view. Hopefully we can all keep this conversation going within our peer groups and communities. ☺️
//You can stay afraid, or slit the throat of fear and be brave//