While social norms and mental health acceptance have made huge bounds over previous years, many men are still hesitant to discuss their mental health with a professional therapist. There are many reasons for this, including:
- Toxic Masculinity: This type of gender role encourages “toughness” while restricting emotion and weakness. Asking for help from a mental health professional goes against this manifestation, making therapy a big no-no.
- Social Norms: For many cultures, therapy is a woman’s treatment and therefore cannot help men.
- Lack of Emotional Awareness: If you’ve been taught to suppress emotions or “just get over it” as a kid and teenager, it can be difficult to identify complex emotions and understand that you’re experiencing depression or anxiety, to name a few.
We understand that for many men and boys, these reasons are difficult to overcome. But acknowledging that therapy may be a viable option to deal with pain, stress, and other mental illnesses can improve your personal life drastically.
If you’re searching for solutions, but are hesitant about seeing a therapist, read on. Here are just some of the benefits of therapy for men and teenage boys.
In today’s society, men face a lot of pressure. Pressure to be “manly” yet sensitive, confident yet modest. Toxic masculinity is real, and it can damage your sense of self-worth if left unchecked.
First things first: seeing a therapist doesn’t make you “weak.” It can actually help you become confident and secure with who you are. Learning about your mental strengths and weaknesses lets you address them head-on and create a customized plan. You may be pleasantly surprised to see what it can do for your relationships and daily interactions.
As stated above, some men don’t have a good relationship with their emotions. Whether you suppress, override emotions with anger, or ignore feelings altogether, it’s detrimental to your mental health and well-being. In fact, Scientific American concluded that expressing negative emotions is essential to coping and improving your mental health.
Feeling the full spectrum of emotions is healthy–and encouraged. Your therapist can help you find out why you’re blocking certain emotions and find ways to realize them in a safe environment.
As you make progress, your emotional spectrum will grow and many aspects of your life can begin to improve.
Deal with Job Stress
Men often find personal value in their career. While there is nothing wrong with this, if you have been laid off, can’t find fulfilling work, or are financially stressed, it can affect your self-worth and lead to depression. Depression can cause marital issues and a downward spiral of isolation, which can eventually lead to suicide.
On top of that, if you leave these work-related feelings to fester, they can spread to the physical aspects of your health–causing weight gain, lack of libido, and poor sleep.
Talking to a therapist can give you the strength to get to the root of your problems and deal with your job stressors in a healthy way.
Reduce Dependency on Drugs & Alcohol
Men are over two times as likely to abuse alcohol and opioids. There are many theories why, but it’s difficult to pinpoint a single contributing factor. However, a therapist may be able to help you figure out the underlying issues of your reliance on substances, which can help you overcome it.
Many times, the underlying issue is depression, feelings of loneliness, or trauma that occurred earlier in life. Exploring this pain with a professional can help relieve it. Your therapist may also discuss alternative treatments for these disorders, which can help when therapy isn’t enough.
Help With Suicidal Thoughts
Suicide contributes to over 40,000 deaths per year and men are 3.5 more likely than women to take their own lives. The suicide rate is highest in middle-aged men. However, men aged 20 to 24 are at high risk because they are more likely to face rejection, lack of job opportunities, and isolation.
Some of the thoughts that typically precede suicide include loneliness, feeling useless, and feeling undervalued. Being able to talk to someone who can help you understand these feelings may help shift your focus to a more positive mindset.
You’ll also have the opportunity to join community groups that can help you establish connections with other people and provide hope and a sense of belonging.
Seeing a therapist can do wonders for any man, whether you suffer from depression, anxiety, or simply could benefit from talking through life experiences with a trusted professional.
Contact the therapists at Restorative Brain Clinic. Our team has experience working with men, and we can create a plan for you to feel more emotionally connected, confident, and content with your life. Contact us today.