Men's Mental Health Awareness Month
This month is Men's Mental Health Awareness Month (Movember anyone?)
We’re discussing mental health more now than we ever have before. People are becoming more open about their mental health, and we’re all learning better ways to support each other. But people may often underreport men’s mental health, with men not reaching out for the support they need. And that’s where Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month comes in, bringing attention to men’s mental health. For everything you need to know about Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month, from when it is to how to show your support, just keep reading.
When is Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month? Mental Health America (MHA) recognizes June as Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month, as does the International Men’s Health Month website. But it’s worth remembering that not every country recognizes June as Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month. For example, November is Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month in the United Kingdom. It’s also known as Movember, as men grow mustaches to raise awareness of men’s health conditions. These include mental health conditions but also conditions like prostate and testicular cancer.
How to support Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month
If you’d like to support Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month, you could do it in many ways. You might hold an event to raise awareness and money for a mental health charity or organization. You could raise money through a garage sale or bake sale, get people to sponsor you in a race or a competition, or reach out to your workplace or your child’s school to see whether there’s anything they could do to raise awareness.
There are a lot of charities, organizations, and groups out there that do important work around men’s mental health and mental health more generally. Men’s mental health organizations in the United States and abroad include:
Next Gen Men
Campaign Against Living Miserably
MHA, the National Institute of Mental HealthTrusted Source, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness don’t focus solely on men’s mental health but are worth supporting ― and they’re useful resources if you’d like to learn more.
It’s also important to listen to the men in your life if they reach out to you and let them know that you’re there. Of course, this isn’t limited solely to Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month ― men’s mental health remains a big concern throughout the year, not just in June.
Understanding men’s mental health concerns
There’s still a stigma around men’s mental health, making it more difficult for men and boys to reach out for help. Some men might still feel as if people expect them to hide their emotions and “man up,” or be strong for others. Having or acknowledging a mental health condition is still seen as a sign of weakness or lack of masculinity among some men.
But mental health conditions aren’t signs of personal weakness ― they’re health conditions just like any other. You wouldn’t feel shame about getting a doctor’s help with a broken arm, and contacting a therapist isn’t any different.
The statistics of men’s mental health
The National Institute of Mental HealthTrusted Source says mental health conditions are more common among women than men, but this may be because men aren’t opening up and reaching out. And while 51.7% of women with a mental health condition in 2021 received support from mental health services, only 40% of men with a mental health condition did.
Not only that, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source says the suicide rate among males in 2021 was around four times higher than the suicide rate among females. The organization also says men make up almost 80% of all suicides. Men may also be more likely to engage in substance misuse in place of mental health care.
And when men get help, it can sometimes be difficult for them to get the help they need. In the United States and worldwide, mental health care often receives insufficient fundingTrusted Source, and people often don’t prioritize it.
Intersectionality and men’s mental health
While a mental health condition can affect any man, sometimes, the conditions affect men disproportionately. For example, the CDC reports that LGBTQ+ men are more likely to have mental health conditionsTrusted Source than their straight and cis counterparts, while adults with disabilities are almost five times as likelyTrusted Source to report frequent mental health distress than adults without disabilities.
Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, or BIPOC, men are just as likely to have mental health conditions as white men but have less access to mental health care. They’re more likely to need to rely on community support in place of (rather than in addition to) mental health professionals.
While Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month is important, we must consider men’s mental health year-round. While it’s more acceptable for men to express their emotions and get help than it used to be, it’s still important that we address the ongoing stigma that men shouldn’t need mental health support.
Talk with the men in your lives, and if you’re experiencing depression, anxiety, anger, or other mental health difficulties, there are many places you can go to for support ― you’re not alone, and it doesn’t make you less of a man.
If you or anyone you know is struggling at the moment with your mental health and wellbeing and would like a space to feel supported, heard and valued with other male students then please feel free to come and join our Men's Wellbeing Group run by the Student Wellbeing Service on alternate Tuesdays, 3-4pm. Here you can expect a supportive community where we can come together to discuss the ups and down's of being a male and the challenges we can sometimes face and how we might manage this. No one should struggle alone, so we encourage you to come and join our space and see how support and connection from others can benefit your wellbeing. We hope to see you there soon and perhaps sporting your very own Mo? With best wishes, The Wellbeing Team