Written by Margo Field (Coaching, Counselling and Hypnosis)
It is Movember. Moustaches and facial hair and more awareness of men’s health, including mental and emotional wellbeing. There is a stigma in and for men about getting help even though they have troubling challenges in life just as women do. My goodness we all know that many men can’t even ask for directions if they are lost…. let alone ask for help with sticky situations and troublesome emotions.
A big warm welcome to male readers. Yay for you!.
I’m also aware that many readers of this article will be women. Yet you have brothers, fathers, and male partners, kids and co workers. We are all in this together. Research on mental /emotional heath services tells us that:
– men are at best a third of the service users;
– younger men are more likely to access mental and emotional health then older men;
– the most common areas of help were for ongoing stress and relationship problems.
It’s generally understood that men are less likely to talk about the emotional and mental health issues. But does this mean that they’re not trying to deal with them? Research in Australia shows that the top health prevention strategies that didn’t involve talking include:
1) Healthy Eating
2) Keeping busy
5) Doing something to help another person
6) Spending time with a pet
7) Accepting sad feelings
8) Achieving something
9) Hanging out with people who are positive
10) Distracting self from negative thoughts
These activities were described by the study participants as ‘typically masculine’. So how can we support men to look after themselves? Of course it’s great for men to get some help with a therapist. However, only some of them might actually do that. What we can all do is support activities like those in the list above and encourage connection. Just consistently doing healthy micro behaviors can make a big difference.
Saying simple words like:
“ it’s great to see you exercising each week” or “I love seeing you doing stuff that makes you happy”
Focus on the positive!!! Support the basics- good sleep, good eating, rest and relaxation and connecting with people and nature.
Finally, it’s useful for men to understand that getting help for their mental and emotional well-being is just like approaching a tradie for help with plumbing, a car or electricity that’s not working properly in your house.