It’s natural for men to feel uncomfortable about opening up – but it’s time we all get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable.
Ask yourself this: why do we accept this perceived weakness about opening up and talking about what’s truly going on? Is it a fear of being judged? That it would be used against you? That it will alter someone’s image of you?
Confiding in someone about your mental health takes a lot of courage, it’s natural to worry how you will be viewed – but we can’t let that hold us back. Our mental and physical health is on the line.
Flipping the script on what “manning up” really should mean
Somewhere throughout our evolution, this notion that men have to portray themselves as a stoic figure really tightened the grip on how comfortable we are expressing ourselves. Let’s get one thing straight – you are not less of a man because you’re struggling with something internally and you certainly are not less of a man because you reach out and ask for help.
It’s okay to let your guard down. It’s okay to feel vulnerable. Those thoughts that rattle around in of your head, the ones you assume no one will understand, are allowed to come out. Those closest to you can be a huge help in offering their unconditional love and support, and it can be truly liberating to express yourself.
It’s time we collectively strip away the negative connotation surrounding men’s mental health – and it starts by opening up with one honest conversation at a time.
It’s time to have an honest conversation about mental health.
The numbers are also very shocking, with 1 in 10 Canadian men experiencing major depression during the course of their lives and 3 out of four 4 suicides are men.
“We have all of these weird ideas about mental health,” says Dr. Tom Ungar. The truth is, everybody has their ups and down and mental health affects everyone, so it’s important to be mindful of how you’re feeling.
Take into consideration these four important elements about mental health.
- It’s normal to have feelings of anxiety and depression. You aren’t alone. Approximately 30.6% of men have experienced a period of depression in their lifetime.
- Anger and irritability is often how depression manifests itself in men. Basic stress relievers like socializing with friends or family and exercise (like some time at the gym or a game of hockey) are great ways to destress and boost your mood. If you are experiencing anger and aggression more often, or are often feeling irritable you can find self-help books or resources online with other suggestions of things that can help you manage stress, negative emotion and their effects on your life. If it does continue for a month, you should go talk to your doctor.
- Don’t try to tough things out alone. Talk to someone you can trust about what you’re feeling. Staying socially connected and sharing experiences with close friends, family members, or a partner goes a long way. Get out for a night with the guys – but make sure that you are drinking responsibly and watching your intake.
- Go see your family doctor if the emotions persist for weeks and they are affecting other parts of your life They might send you to a mental health professional to help you further or might be able to give you options to help you deal with these emotions.
We all have rough patches in our lives, filled with ups and downs. It’s important to talk to someone you care about – there’s help out there. And hockey is actually good for your mental health!
Watch the full video as Dr. Tom Ungar takes to the ice to talk to the fellas about their mental health.