4 words that cause lasting damage on men as a whole “Big Boys Don’t Cry” Let me explain a little.
For generations after generations men have had those words uttered to them as they were growing up, showing any sign of emotion was met with mockery and men were made to feel weak. When you look at the mental health statistics in the uk , more so In child loss , from a controlled group of 303 males from Daddys With Angels you see figures like 80.9% felt there mental health declined after the loss of a child.
From these figures crossed with figures from the Samaritans, mind and other organisations studies, its safe to say many men do not seek help out of fear of being branded weak by their peers. For men under 35 suicide is the biggest cause of death a study by mental health forum found.
From the study conducted by daddys with angels the findings were 11.6% of males attempted suicide following a loss of a child and 21.1% self harmed following the loss of a child. Another set of scary figures is in 2013, 6,233 suicides were recorded in the UK for people aged 15 and older. Of these, 78% were male and 22% were female
There was a study by netdoctor.co.uk that found the lifetime rate for depression in men was 8% a low figure again which can be attributed to men not seeking professional help. From my own experiences of asking for help and only being prescribed pills it’s quite clear to see why so many men are put off asking for help. That coupled with people openly saying that you should be strong for your partner which have a negative impact also.
Another factor to consider is that men do not know how to process and channel emotions very well, again is this attributed to the fact that men are meant to just get on with it , another dangerous expectation from men in society, which has lasting effects on mental health.
In the nearly 5 years it has been since my son died my eyes have been opened to how much damage society’s expectations on men’s mental health has had. When my son died I had no idea how to handle any emotions,I sunk into society’s expectations of just getting on with it and supporting my partner. For me not knowing it was ok to grieve and that I wasn’t weak had a damaging effect on my mental health. Pre loss I had never had any mental health issues so when I developed them I was not equipped for how to handle it . One phrase that stuck in my mind was “Big Boys Don’t Cry“.
A shift in society needs to happen and it needs to happen now, Of course child loss and males is just one section of a bigger picture when it comes to mental health , but the principles are the same, Men need to be made to see that it is OK to not be OK and that’s its OK to ask for help.
The full survey from Daddys With Angels can be found at https://bit.ly/2rnIg6n