Men and Mental Health
Written by WWTW Mental Health Therapist, Dirk Hansen.
Modern life is full of obstacles and challenges. As men, we spend so much time and energy just coping with day-to-day existence. We take jobs, navigate relationships, provide for the daily needs of ourselves and others, make time for leisure activities and socialising, and maybe even set goals for the future. But what happens when all activity and effort stops making sense? What happens when it starts to feel like you are just 'going through the motions'? What happens when things start to go wrong, and life becomes overwhelming for you?
Feelings matter, and it is important to try and understand what your feelings are saying to you. Yet, for men, it can often be difficult to express feelings or emotions. It can also be difficult for men to share problems (and feelings) for fear that it might appear as a show of weakness. So, the result is often that men will sit and deal with their problems alone and internally - leading to a worsening of mental health and well-being.
The importance of facing your reactions and perceptions
If you struggle with your mental health, the causes behind your feelings and emotions are not always easy to detect and can be related to various factors such as how you view yourself; your own unique past experiences; or your relationships throughout life. These factors can take some effort to identify but can eventually lead to some helpful explanations. Practical causes should also be considered, such as fatigue or being worn down by a routine or lifestyle that limits your happiness. Therefore, gaining more self-awareness, and opening up to understanding (and change) can lead to better mental health.
Taking steps towards better Mental Health
Learning to express feelings more easily, or simply to talk with someone you trust when you are finding it difficult to cope, is a good place to start. Feel free to take simple steps towards being more aware of your reactions, but also find healthy ways to take the pressure off when it gets overwhelming. More and more, men are entering Counselling or Psychotherapy for the reasons above, and they are finding a safe and confidential place to express feelings or discuss ideas on how to move forward from being 'stuck'.
What can Counselling/Psychotherapy do?
A Counsellor or Psychotherapist is a professional who is trained to understand psychological and emotional reactions, to offer a confidential place to explore your life and experiences, and to find solutions to common problems that men face. The Counsellor can provide an objective view of your situation and discuss your perceptions and assist you in looking at deeper meanings to enable you to develop your own solutions and to move forward.
Mental Health is essential, and important to consider in our complex and challenging world. It is ok - and normal, to seek help when you find that what used to work for you is no longer working. Change is normal, but oftentimes difficult - and getting the support makes sense, and can enable you to get where you want to go.