As conversations about mental health become more normalized, men are opening up more about mental health stigma and their struggles with conditions like depression and anxiety. Contrary to the stereotypical idea that men should be stoic and keep their feelings on the inside, talking about mental health can actually have many benefits for men. These include:
Feeling less alone
When you talk to someone about your mental health, you can realize that you're not alone and that other people understand what you're going through. This can help you realize you don’t have to feel shame or isolation. In reality, an estimated 18% of men in the United States experience some form of mental illness each year.
Learning coping mechanisms
Talking to someone can help you get practical advice for how to deal with what you’re going through. This might include strategies to calm down when you’re stressed or boost your mood when you’re feeling low, or how to implement lifestyle changes that pay off in the long run, such as getting more exercise, eating a healthier diet, or getting enough sleep.
Understanding when it’s time to get more help
Sometimes mental health struggles start to seem “normal” when you’ve been going through them for a long time. Confiding in someone you trust might give you that reality check that you could use the support of a mental health professional or support group.
While talking about your mental health for the first time can sound scary, it’s often rewarding to reach out to the people who care about you and want to help. Here are some steps you can take to help you get started with those initial conversations.
Find a safe person to talk to
This could be a friend, family member, mentor, or another person who you feel confident has your best interests at heart. It’s important to choose a person who is likely to listen to you without judgment and who won’t immediately jump into “fixing” mode.
Start slow, but be authentic
You don't have to share everything you’re going through at once — in fact, doing so might end up being too overwhelming. That being said, challenge yourself to be honest with the person you’re talking to about how you’re feeling, instead of making jokes or minimizing your problems.
Listen to the person's feedback
The person you're talking to may have some feedback for you. They might have a certain perspective you haven’t considered, or insights for how to cope based on their own experiences or having witnessed others who overcame similar difficulties. Listening to this feedback carefully can help you decide whether it could be helpful to apply to your situation.
Although difficult at first, talking about mental health can be an important step toward feeling better. Therapy can be a valuable space to talk about your experiences and figure out ways to cope and get to a better place. Click on the button below to schedule a free consultation with one of Salt River Therapy’s mental health professionals — there is help available, and you don't have to go through this alone.