- Research has reaffirmed cases in which men face abuse, physical and emotional, that results in mental illness.
- Experts recommend stigmatization of men’s mental health and reconfigured gender identities and duties to address the issues.
The ongoing high-profile Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard trial has shed much-needed light on ‘male’ harrowing experiences that impact their mental health in the long term. Depp’s testimony of witnessing domestic violence in childhood, parental neglect, and the emotional damage caused by experiences of childhood adversity showed how men are also victims of abuse and trauma. In fact, he attributed his consequent replication of toxic life- and relationship- ‘patterns’ in adulthood to these factors.
How Men Face Abuse
Societal norms across the globe predominantly follow certain patriarchal and heteronormative structures that legitimize and fuel toxic masculinity. This sets higher and stricter standards for men, invalidates their distress and struggles, and creates life problems.
For instance, the phrases “Boys don’t cry!”, “Don’t be such a baby!”, or “Man up!” are frequently thrown at men to trap them in a never-ending cycle of traditional masculine ‘ideals’ that lead to mental disorders, self-harm, or suicide.
The Importance Of Men’s Mental Health
Recent gender justice movements like the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements have been accused of ‘weaponizing’ ‘false’ female allegations to ‘tear down’ men in power. In a way, these social movements have served to draw a rather stringent curtain over men’s requirements and right to mental health.
Even a #HimToo movement has come about to highlight how men face abuse and sexual harassment. But, despite the media noise and perpetual debate, it is yet to prove effective in addressing issues of gender equality, conflict, or mental health.
Experts, nonetheless, have recommended suggestions that help men achieve flourishing mental well-being, including:
- Doing away with the stigma associated with men’s mental health
- Acknowledging the need to seek help for mental health issues
- Empathizing with one’s own struggles and difficulties
- Availing a social support system
- Availing generic mental health interventions related to mindfulness, stress management, etc.
Men’s mental health is an important part of our social health, but, sadly, it is often overlooked and swept under the carpet. We, as a society and nation, should come together and take measures that prevent the lingering after-effects of abuse and trauma experienced by men. There is a need for more campaigns and events to create men’s mental health awareness.