International Men’s Health Week 2024: 40% of Indian Men Don’t Talk About Mental Health Openly, Says Experts

New Delhi, June 13: While society has started openly discussing issues such as anxiety, depression and stress, men’s mental health continues to be an overlooked area. About 40 per cent of men in India do not talk about their mental health openly over fear of stigma, said experts on Thursday.

International Men’s Health Week is observed every year from June 10 to June 16 to raise awareness on men’s health issues. Dr Samir Kumar Praharaj, Professor and Head of – the Department of Psychiatry at Kasturba Medical College and Hospitals, MAHE, Manipal, said, “The lack of discussions about men’s mental health or their propensity to seek help along with the growing suicide rates may be explained by the male gender norms that are socially constructed.” Health Experts Emphasise Mental Health, Suggest Meeting Friends, Taking Time To Discuss Issues.

On the other hand, Dr Shyam Bhat, Psychiatrist and Chairperson of Live Love Laugh, added, “About 40 per cent of Indian men don’t talk about their mental health openly, largely due to stigmas and misconceptions, including the mistaken belief that men should handle their emotions on their own.”

Traditionally, men have been expected to be strong, resilient and emotionally stoic by society. Different emotional responses in men can also be attributed to biological and hormonal factors, such as testosterone.

Dr Samir said that in most cases, men are an example of how to mask emotions since it is considered shameful for them to express feelings or seek help. “When depressed, men are more likely to display aggression and anger rather than sadness, compared with women, who may be more in touch with their sadness and vulnerability. Consequently, many men suffer in silence or become isolated and resort to substance abuse as they battle their internal struggles without the support they desperately need. This increases suicide risk in men, and consequently, death by suicide in men occurs 2.5 times more than in women,” he further added.

The doctors suggested awareness campaigns and educational programmes to assist in the elimination of myths and stigmatisation associated with mental disorders as well as to foster conversation. Depression Symptoms: Know the Early Warning Signs To Identifying Depression.

Dr Samir stressed healthy habits such as exercising, doing mindful activities, and engaging in creative outlets for better mental health. “The emphasis should be shifted to altering the perception of male masculinity and persuading men to take their mental health issues seriously and to seek help if they experience any difficulties.”

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jun 13, 2024 02:28 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website

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