The month of May for many is a hopeful, uplifting time of year, but it is also Mental Health Awareness Month and it’s time to kick the stigma. It is estimated that one in five American adults suffer from some form of mental disorder. Even without the hardships of a global pandemic, many adults struggle with depression, anxiety, addiction, and other mental health problems that affect quality of life for themselves and their families.
To raise awareness and money to expand treatment services for mental health disorders, the Indianapolis Colts and Irsay family have created “Kick the Stigma” – an effort to help people find support and talk more openly about mental health. By normalizing discussion about mental well-being, more people can get the help they need and learn the importance of practicing self-care and self-love.
Men, especially older men, often view mental health problems as a weakness and try to “tough it out” and avoid getting treatment or even admitting to an issue. But with greater awareness and education about mental health, dismantling of stereotypes, and greater supports for people with mental illness and their families, more people can get the help they need. In a time when mental health has been challenged for people of all ages and walks of life, it’s important that no one feels alone in their struggle.
By finding the strength and courage to talk about mental health, and share experiences, more people will get the help they need. Men account for 3.5 times the number of suicides as women, and depression is one of the leading causes of suicide, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The shame of feeling week or unmanly adds to mental health issues and can surface as anger, causing men to put up walls and avoid getting treatment.
By dispelling these myths around depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues, more men (and women) can feel open about asking for help and getting professional mental health treatment. Learn more about depression in men and how to manage and prevent depression by following this link to the HeadsUpGuys website. Learn more about how to access mental health treatment by following this link to resources available in Canada compiled by the Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health.