Movember is a global campaign to shed light on men’s mental health and how we can all support the brothers, sons, husbands and male friends in our lives.
How did Movember start?
The purpose of Movember goes beyond growing facial hair. It serves as a platform to spotlight men’s mental health challenges, steering awareness towards meaningful discussions and encouraging men to open up about their emotional well-being. It is a movement that addresses physical and mental health challenges, including early prostate and testicular cancer detection, suicide prevention and mental wellbeing.
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An alarming statistic that affects everyone
The World Health Organization reports that globally, men are almost twice as likely as women to die by suicide. This underscores the dire need for tailored mental health support for men. One size does not fit all when it comes to mental health care, and for some men, gender-specific therapies or practitioners offer a more relatable and comfortable space. For instance, offering the option of seeing a male therapist can be crucial for those who feel that they would be better understood or more at ease discussing specific issues with someone of the same gender.
In particular, men are affected by topics related to:
- Societal pressures
- Gender roles
- Body image
- Expressing emotions
By diversifying the kinds of support available, we can better address men’s unique challenges, shatter the stigmas around male vulnerability, and pave the way for more men to seek help when needed.
Why is it so hard for men to start therapy?
In recent years, men have shifted how to acknowledge, talk about and seek help for their own mental health or emotional problems, as demonstrated by the momentum of men engaging in the Movember campaign. Despite the progress championed by so many men, accessibility problems persist for way too many, especially finding routes to therapy.
Recent statistics reveal that men are less likely to seek help for mental health challenges than women, contributing to a significant gender gap in treatment. According to a study by the Counselling Psychology Quarterly, men who saw a therapist of their preferred gender tended to report better outcomes than those who did not.
Reasons men may prefer to see a male therapist:
- Men may feel that a male therapist can better relate to their experiences, especially when it comes to issues related to masculinity, identity, or societal expectations
- Some men may feel more comfortable discussing sensitive topics with a therapist of the same gender, which can lead to a more productive therapeutic relationship.
- Male therapists may have personally dealt with similar challenges, making it easier for men to open up and connect on a deeper level.
Several factors prevent men from seeking therapy, including feelings of shame related to unrealistic social expectations, particularly a fear of appearing weak. Asking for help is a strength.
But all of us can work towards breaking down these stigmas by:
- Learning about mental health issues, their prevalence, and men’s challenges.
- Encouraging and normalising open mental health discussions with friends, family, and colleagues.
- Reminding those in need to seek professional help.
Embracing a brighter future
Movember can be a great time to check in with the men in your life to find out how they feel and offer support if needed. It can be challenging to get help for mental health issues, but options exist for a brighter future.
If you or someone you know struggles with mental health, do not hesitate to contact Onebright, which connects individuals with female and male therapists across the UK. They are here to listen, support, and guide you.
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