We have come a long way in the past 50 or so years, but when it comes to mental health men are for the most part still living in the dark ages. Â The worst part is, it is done by choice, and this is what I mean by, “Macho Kills.” Â I think Adam Ferrera does a nice (and funny) job of describing the how and why men seem to have such a hard time recognizing and acknowledging that there may be problem. Â When he tells his friend that he has panic attacks, Â this is the response:
Really? Â Did you ever think you are just a pussy? Â Did’ya ever think of that? Â I mean I’m no doctor, but you could be a pussy, that’s all I sayin’. Â You could have acute pussyitis, that’s what it sounds like to me Sweetheart. Â Check your urine, is it pink?
And it is this sort of machismo that keeps people from looking into their issues let along asks for help. Â We are “strong” and “tough” and “rugged” and.. and well anything but “vulnerable.” Â It just ins’t in our culture’s vernacular for men. Â And because of that, you start seeing troubling statistics like:
- Nearly four in five suicides (78%) are by men
- Suicide is the biggest cause of death for men under 35
- Men have measurably lower access to the social support of friends, relatives and community
As I mentioned in A Run for You Money Part 2, I like to use runs to help raise money for good causes. Â Tomorrow I will be running in the Fight The Stigma 5k, sponsored by Mental Health Association of NJ. Â I am doing this because it time for all but especially men to crawl out from under the rocks. Â Whether you’re a company executive, a construction worker, a writer, a police officer, or a student; whether you are rich or poor; surrounded by loved ones or alone; you are not immune to depression. Â It is time to recognize, and acknowledge that it is possible to have an issue, and that it is perfectly OK to get help for that issue. Â If you, or someone you know is having problems, encourage them to get the help that they need. Â Nobody should die because they are too “manly” to get the help that they need.