While mental health is becoming a more important topic, some demographics are often overlooked. The mental well-being of boys and men is one area that doesn’t get enough attention. The stigma surrounding the topic and the encouragement of toxic masculinity within society make it difficult for men to maintain their mental health. These issues can not only affect men’s mental health but also make it difficult for them to get the care they need.
What Is Toxic Masculinity?
Toxic masculinity refers to the exaggeration or misuse of traditional male traits that harm others or society in general. These traits are used to marginalize women, promote homophobia and establish gender roles in cultures that support toxic masculinity.
Toxic masculinity can also cause harm to men. Men are often stigmatized for masculinity. They have to display certain personality traits, emotions, and behaviors that can cause them great emotional pain and isolation.
This may make it difficult for men to suppress or suppress any thoughts and feelings that are not toxic. They may live in extreme internal conflict or be disconnected from their true selves.
There are many ways toxic masculinity can manifest in different forms and behaviors. These include:
- Discrimination against heterosexuals
- Discrimination or violence against women
- Anger and aggression are on the rise
- Fear of or denial of emotions is often disguised as “stoicism”.
- Exaggerated confidence and independence
- Emotional insensitivity
- Mental and physical toughness
How Toxic Masculinity Harms Men’s Mental Health
A culture that encourages toxic masculinity doesn’t allow men to talk about their feelings or address their mental health needs. They become suppressed, resulting in great emotional pain and physical conditions.
Their behavior may also lead to loneliness and disconnection, further deteriorating their mental well-being.
These traits may not have a direct impact on their mental health but toxic masculinity can prevent men from seeking treatment for unrelated disorders or mental health conditions.
Many men live silently with mental health conditions and do not seek treatment. These conditions include:
- Problems with body image
- Substance abuse
- Chronic stress
- Trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder
- Suicidal thoughts or death by suicide
How to Combat the Stigma Masculinity and Mental Health
Already, the stigma of toxic masculinity has been challenged. These behaviors are still glorified in culture, media, and society.
Education and online discussion should be prioritized. Men will be better able to distinguish between unhealthy and healthy behaviors if they can discuss mental health and masculinity.
These issues should be discussed at home as well. Talk to the men in your family about their toxic behavior. If they are open to the idea, show them healthy masculine behaviors.
Give men space to talk about their feelings and mental health. So that men feel loved and accepted, listen to them with empathy and warmth.
These discussions need to be initiated early in life. Children are easily influenced and will often adhere to “gender norms” that was imposed on them at an early age. You can change this. You can teach your boys healthy masculine behavior and encourage them to express themselves well.
Men must also make sure they do their fair share of the work. It doesn’t suffice to give space and support to grow; men must also make efforts to improve their behavior. This process is only possible through inner reflection and mindfulness. They must also be willing to seek out a counselor from Anew Treatment Center to help them break the cycle of toxic masculinity.