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Save a life and end stigma

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Save a life and end stigma

Christina Benavides, Reporter

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Men are less likely to come forward about their struggles with mental illness. This plays a part in mental health stigma worldwide.

Society seems to reject anyone who seems different or out of the ordinary. People dealing with mental illness have a fear of seeking help, and to this day do not always come forward when they need to. Men are taught at a young age that showing emotion is feminine, and strips them of their masculinity. By doing this, we are telling men that they should not show emotion. I do not believe that a man is less of man because they want to seek help and search for a path to recovery. I also do not think a man is less of a man because they decided to not seek help due to stigma.

S o m e thing everyone seems to forget is that mental illness is not a choice. No one chooses to have dep r e s s i o n , p e r s o n a l ity disorders, or even suicidal thoughts. It is mental, and a mental illness is a real illness that people battle on a day-to-day basis. It is important to educate ourselves about mental health because people you interact with every day are dealing with it, I assure you. Whether it is a colleague, a classmate, or a family member, you never know what someone is dealing with in their lives.

I do not blame people for not seeing the signs of mental illness because sometimes it is not obvious. Stigma has kept people from expressing the way they truly feel, often having to put on a fake smile to appear as everyone else. Women are more likely to be welcomed with open arms when they are in an emotional state, and men are forced to “man up.” Women are never seen as less of a woman for being emotional, but men are “unmanly.” Men should feel like they can seek help without being afraid of what others might think of them. It takes a great deal of strength to seek help whether you are male or female, and you should never be ashamed to want a better life for yourself.

According to the Merriam- Webster dictionary, the word stigma means a mark of disgrace or dishonor. The fact that mental health stigma exists is devastating. We are telling them that something is wrong with them and they are to blame.

In some places around the world men are traditionally seen as bread winners of families, and are normally pressured to be invincible due to the tough exterior society believes they should have. It is great that we are telling men to be strong, however we should never tell them to suppress their feelings to keep their strength. People are suffering in silence to seem “normal.” Stigma has made people feel like there is something inhumanely wrong with them, and we should always reassure everyone that the way they feel might not be normal, but their feelings are valid.

Mental illness is real. Not only can our bodies get sick, but our brains also can. Stigma does not allow people to reach out for treatment, and sometimes they never do. Everyone should be more considerate of those with mental health issues. Men should be able to talk about their mental health issues, and no one has the right to belittle them for doing so. Both men and women can reach out for help, however stigma keeps them from doing so. If we all work together to end mental health stigma, then we can save lives, and possibly open doors to recovery for many.

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Save a life and end stigma