Understanding the Silent Struggles: Common Mental Health Issues in Men
It’s November! We’re 2 months away from the end of the year and we’re so happy to have reached the month where we are focusing on men’s mental health! You will find that all our social media pages will have plenty to say surrounding men’s self-care tips, and how to express emotions and ideas to challenge your mental health this month!
There are a variety of issues that can affect men’s mental health. Some of these issues include depression, anxiety, and stress. Of these issues how many of you can say you have experienced at least one? We bet a lot of you raised your hand!
Did you know that “In 2013, an estimated 3 million Canadians (11.6%) aged 18 years or older reported that they had a mood and/or anxiety disorder” (Mood and anxiety disorders in Canada, 2014). That is a lot of people!
Men are typically conditioned to believe that it is beneficial to hide their negative emotions and to not let anyone know that they may be experiencing troubles. If you don’t have a safe and appropriate way to let out your feelings, it is likely to lead you to feel as though you may explode. Sometimes that exploding can look like rage, a complete shutdown, or even can manifest physically such as chronic pain.
We had a chat about how anxiety can affect men’s mental health with a couple of our very own therapists here at Relationship Matters Therapy Centre. Bhavani Narayan, MSc, RP (Qualifying) noted that “When it comes to addressing anxiety, I wish more men knew that anxiety symptoms can present more so physically as opposed to mentally. It can present as excessive sweating, trouble sleeping or insomnia, or even a racing heart when resting.”
Did she say trouble sleeping?? According to the Public Health Agency of Canada 1 in 3 adults aged 35- 64 are not getting enough sleep (Are Canadian adults getting enough sleep? , 2019).
Katarina Guillen, MA, RP informed us that "When it comes to addressing anxiety, I wish more men knew that identifying the value that is tied to what is anxiety provoking can be an important step in understanding how to respond to that anxiety (e.g. value of demonstrating competence tied to a decision of whether to take on a new project). Knowing what value is tied to the anxiety provoking experience can be helpful in identifying next steps and engaging in self-validation and understanding."
When you think about all the things that can cause anxiety like balancing finances, work, relationships, or even navigating issues related to sex it’s no wonder why your body could decide to turn on you if you are unable to find a healthy outlet to express yourself. One of the co-owners of Relationship Matters Therapy Centre and a therapist herself Carling Mashinter, MSc., RP said she wished more people knew “How important it is to share their emotions with one another in intimate partnerships. Emotional safety must be built and maintained in a relationship for emotions to be expressed and heard with empathy. This is such a significant element of relationship health and mental health!” Relationships are important and knowing how to navigate them can help to improve your mental health.