(Did anybody catch the When They Cry universe reference?)
Okay, no, seriously.
There is a very widespread — and extremely harmful — misconseption that men are either less vulnerable, or less in need of support than anybody else on the gender spectrum.
It’s better within the younger generations; the younger the better. The idea that mental health issues do not discriminate based on gender, race or physical ability is gaining more and more traction every day. Still, however, depending on the upbringing and on the surroundings, people can be very judgmental to men who struggle, and who show that.
Here’s why you need to reassure men, and not leave them out of the mental health conversation
Because they’re human
First and foremost, we are all humans; regardless of any other factors that contribute to our differences instead.
Building connections and lending support are some of the actually few ways we have of showing others that we care, and of helping keep our society together — both on a larger country-wide scale, and on the smaller friend-group scale.
Reassure men like you would reassure anybody else.
Because they already think they don’t need that
When people talk about the phenomenon of toxic masculinity, they often discuss it in terms of ‘how our society benefits men while ruining it for everybody else’.
What a lot of people choose to ignore is that this masculinity is toxic to men in the first place.
I’m not trying to generalise — I know all experiences and all people are different — but it’s just the objective truth that a lot of men, especially straight, especially over the age of 27, constantly limit themselves.
They’re too afraid to like certain things, to complain, to reach out, to ask for help, to show any sort of incompetence professionally or socially… A lot of people refuse to reassure men, some in fear, others in aversion.
Many people dismiss this because, well, who’s to blame for that if not fellow men judging each other? But look at it this way: it doesn’t matter who started it, but your help in dismantling this will.
Because not doing that entails harm
A lot of harmful stereotypes get spread because of this phenomenon.
Some people, regardless of gender, consider men showing emotion to be weak. Some people just don’t know how to deal with men showing emotion — because they forget men are people, not a whole separate race.
Think of men, who are afraid that needing support makes them less dependable, likeable, trustworthy.
Think of women, and how a lot of them fail to connect with men — even their own husbands, at times — because of their emotional barriers.
Think of trans people, who are scared of transitioning in part because they fear this change of opinion and approach.
Think of children who grow up looking up to the men around them, and who will imitate what they see.
The longer you let this pass, the more people you leave to be hurting in silence, now and in the future. Reassure men.
Because the figures are depressing
Men are very prone to suffering in silence. Men are far less likely to receive support for domestic abuse. Men in the UK are three times more likely to commit or attempt suicide.
This is in no way an article that aims to invalidate the suffering of other groups. This is an article that aims to remind you that all groups do suffer, and that everyone needs support, even if they themselves are afraid to show it.
If you reassure men in your life then you might break up quite a vicious cycle. Try paying more attention to how men around you act and feel.