June is men’s mental health month and while much is written on reasons why men are hesitant to seek out mental health services, fewer conversations are shared on how to engage them and help them move from a place of denial about their mental health struggles to a place of acceptance and action to address their difficulties. Research on internal and external stigma that men face in seeking behavioral health care services does help us to be sensitive to their unique needs as a population. However just focusing on stigma leaves little room for family members, loved ones or spouses who are concerned about the men in their lives to support them in mental health services. Here are two truths that may help to broaden our lens in how to support men to get engaged in more mental health services.
Myth #1: Men are silently stubborn and do not wish to talk about their mental health.
FACT: Many men are willing to talk about their mental health, but they are simply waiting for the right conditions (Whitley, 2021).
Myth #2: Counseling is about communication; there is no need to treat men and women differently when discussing mental health.
FACT: Research indicates the importance of using male-friendly language and concepts when trying to facilitate discussions about men’s mental health (Whitely, 2021).
The Ohio State Employee Assistance Program (EAP) continues to work to build the "right conditions” by providing mental health awareness workshops on identifying symptoms of mental health and reducing the stigma of mental health throughout the year in addition to EAP overviews during new staff orientation. We also work to use language and terms that reflect sensitivity to the unique culture, norms, and roles that men engage in.
For support, reach out to the EAP at email@example.com or 800-678-6265.
Whitley, R. (2021). Men's Issues and Men's Mental Health: An Introductory Primer. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International.
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