Mental health is a chief apprehension worldwide and India is not far behind in sharing this. If we estimate developments in the field of mental health, the rate appears to be slow. About 14% of the global burden of disease is featured to neuropsychiatric disorders. The weight of mental disorders is possible to have been underestimated because of insufficient appreciation of the interplay between mental illness and other health disorders. There remain substantial issues of priority-setting based on a load of health problems and of addressing inequalities concerning determinants and answers for health problems.
One in seven Indians is concerned by mental health issues, stated in research performed by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The male mental health statistics affirm that in 2017, nearly 197 million Indians experienced mental health problems. Depression alone distressed 45.7 million people while Anxiety disorders affected 44.9 million people.
Now, when it comes to Men’s mental health, the state gets even more grave as men’s mental health issues are undocumented and unreported, which means that hardly ever do men seek treatment for mental health? Usually, men try to hide their depression with alcohol. In fact, according to the National Mental Health Survey 2015-16, the frequency of alcohol use disorders in males was 9% as against 0.5% in females. And the overall occurrence of mental morbidity was higher among males (13.9%) than among females (7.5%).
Is it effortless to disregard your mental health just because you are a man? Don’t men undergo depression and other mental health issues? Yes, they do, but not often are they given the space or the compassion to talk about it. The cultural anticipation for them to be tough, stoic, and unrelenting puts excessive pressure on them to have it together at all times.
Women in common always find it easier to talk about their issues and problems so conferring mental health challenges are easier for them. Society and culture is the main reason that compels men to hide their emotions and weakness.
Social Taboo about Men’s Mental Health:
In this cultured society, both men and women have different roles to play. Some researchers have affirmed that there is a silent depression in the mental health of men.
Since their childhood, they are trained to become the moral, financial, and physical support of the family when they nurture. Our society has always rendered man as a stronger gender – physically strong one doesn’t weep, and is emotionally stronger. This falsehood not only makes men weaker but also coerces them to yield to live up to the ideals of society. As a result, Men’s mental health in India is not addressed properly.
They try to find an error in themselves if they are diagnosed with any mental health illnesses be it melancholy, anxiety, or other psychiatric illnesses. Men should have the liberty to distinguish and seek professional support if they are suffering from symptoms of mental health issues or if they know someone who is. Early recognition can help them in supervising these symptoms better.
There are some psychiatric illnesses that prevail in Men’s mental health:
- Depression: Male depression repeatedly goes undiagnosed. Per year, more than six million men endure depression. Both men and women can experience depression but the signs emerge differently in both. Men have a higher propensity to turn to substance abuse and become violent when depressed.
- Anxiety: Yes, men get restless too. 5 in 10 men undergo anxiety disorder, panic attack, agoraphobia, or other phobias. Symptoms comprise muscle pain, headache, sleeping issues, anger, and bad temper.
- Bipolar disorder: Men are as susceptible to bipolar disorder as women, in both adolescence and adulthood. It is the sixth leading basis of death in the world. Symptoms in men are manic occurrences, greater aggression, co-occurring material abuse, etc.
- Schizophrenia: 90% of people who are detected with schizophrenia at an age of 30 are men. The symptoms consist of delusions, hallucinations, disorganized thinking, etc.
- Eating disorder: Women with eating disorders tend to gripe with weight loss while men are centered on gaining a muscular physique.
If these mental disorders in the males aren’t clinched properly or coped with, they are likely to turn to alcohol and other drugs as a means to numb the pain. To exist, men are almost two times more liable to binge drink than women. Not only they do binge drink, but they are also considerably at the risk of committing suicide. This advance to men’s mental health issues does more damage than any good.
Creating Consciousness and Opting for the Right Treatment
For the large Indian population to be engaged in its mental health, the only way ahead is through enhancing Men’s mental health awareness which will cause its demand. With rising awareness, it can be anticipated that early detection and access to treatment will follow, as will the implementation of preventive measures. It can also be expected that with increasing awareness in a democratic society, encouragement, leveraging of political will, funding, and cross-synergies shall trail.
For improving men’s mental health, it is envisioned that the bulk of the awareness contributions shall pour from the following six platforms:
- Conventional media
- Government program
- Educational system
- Internet, social media, and cellphones
Also, we should consider Men’s Mental Health as equivalent to physical health. Suffering silently will augment these symptoms and lead to problems in future treatment. There are different options through which professional help can be gained. Caregivers or family members should also be attentive to various negative symptoms to assist the men in the family seek help.
Pay close attention to their actions such as annoyance, unwanted arguments, addiction practices, and domestic disruption.
Secondly, look for professional help which might give you a handful of solutions with detailed strategies.
Millions of people live with mental health concerns ranging from social anxiety, OCD to the more threatening depression, schizophrenia, and other disorders. There are more conversations around mental health concerns but many still don’t dare to reach out and seek help. It may even be harder combat for men who are asked to ‘man-up’ every time they show any weakness!
Considering that most of the earlier strategies to improve Men’s mental health have not thrived over the past six decades or more in less-developed countries, the time has come to take on a new advance with renewed vigor. Mental health awareness can become both the means and the way of ending this indifference. Progressive government policies based on evidence-based approaches, and employed media, an energetic educational system, a receptive industry, insistent utilization of newer technologies, and creative crowd-sourcing might together help dismiss the blight of mental illnesses.