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Mental Health Issues Require Assistance

In facing the prospect of divorce, losing custody of one’s children, losing a number of assets, and losing one’s home, it’s understandable that it might take a toll on one’s mental state. The stresses of the situation can be overwhelming for those going through the experience, and that experience does include the aftermath, when one attempts to pick up the pieces and recover from this arduous process.

For men, it can be difficult to admit that this hurts. Divorce hurts. Many feel like they simply need to put on a helmet and deal with it. While life can be tough, there are healthy and beneficial methods to make it easier on those in pain.

Difficulties in help-seeking

It may be against every impulse in your body, but asking for help only benefits you. Seeking a therapist or a counselor is an act intended for bettering one’s self. However, we, as individuals, all know the research and studies regarding mental health help-seeking. We know that men of all ages and ethnicities are less likely than women to seek help for problems like substance abuse, depression, and the level of stress that divorce can entail.

However, according to the American Psychological Association, this level of reluctance or unwillingness to get help can harm men’s own mental and physical health and can make life more difficult for their friends and family.

While not all men reflect this type of behavior, the preconceived notion that a man immune to pain does not seek the help that they need for their own mental health problems is only damaging himself by refusing help.

Traditional ideals

Some see it as a defense mechanism for their idea of masculinity being under attack. According to Ronald F. Levant, a professor of psychology at the University of Akron, the thought process is built on a set of gender norms that endorse features, such as toughness, self-reliance, dominance, restriction of emotional expression, the avoidance of traditionally feminine attitudes and behaviors, and heterosexual behaviors.

These ideals are socialized roles that begin at infancy, coming from parents, teachers, male relatives, and peers, according to Levant. Because of the changes within the culture, men looking to strive to meet the ideals of these masculine gender norms may feel threatened.

Fighting against the tide can often be self-defeating, according to Y. Joel Wong, a professor of counseling psychology at Indiana University. He and his team of researchers found that men who follow these traditional ideals of masculinity may experience more severe mental health problems. According to the research, published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology, they found that these men had a higher rate of depression, anxiety, and stress, as well as lower rates of self-esteem, life satisfaction, and psychological well-being.

Conformity to the traditional masculine ideal that restricts emotionality is one of the key components that hurts men, according to James O’Neil, a psychologist at the University of Connecticut. He and his researchers have found that many men have not been given the tools to discuss their feelings in healthy ways and thus, do not have the capacity to process the loss of masculine ideals emotionally.

Understanding what men go through, and not just men who have responded positively to the shifting cultural norms as they pertain to gender ideals, restores faith in society. It’s important to remember that the men who find themselves in between the shifting tides, and even those that are fighting against them, are not that different from those who have accepted the changes in culture and gender. They all live their lives, pay taxes, and vote. They all have the possibility of being married or divorced. They all have families, friendships, and interactions with others on a daily basis. They all work to provide for themselves and those that they support.

It’s important to understand that while there may be fundamental differences preventing one side from understanding another, it is not out of a sense of being dissimilar in nature.

Self-harm and suicide risks

However, there is something to be said about self-harm. Many who find themselves disinterested in the cultural changes taking place or actively resistant to them may consider giving up their lives entirely, due to the mental anguish that builds up over time.

That should never be an option.

We, at Men’s Rights, would never advocate under any circumstances hurting one’s self, and for many that suffer from mental health issues, that is an ever-present option in the back of their minds.

With suicide rates for divorced men being over twice as likely as that of married men and divorced and separated persons in general being twice as likely over married persons, spiraling mental health problems is not something to be taken lightly.

Please seek help

Before you resort to an unthinkable option, there are many resources to explore, in order to improve your mental health. Men Therapy is a tool designed to help men with mental health and the realities of suicide. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress and in crisis. The Veterans Crisis Line is available to offer confidential, around-the-clock support through online chat, text, or phone call.

There also are avenues to explore for therapeutic purposes that can improve your mental health. Countless studies have been done to improve exercises that you can incorporate into your daily life, in an effort to improve your mental health.

Places like the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Live Science, Mental Health America, Buzzfeed, Psychology Today, The Huffington Post, the University of Michigan, Psych Central, the Washington Post, and Mashable all have quick and easy recommendations for improving one’s mental health. Apps, such as Happify, iCBT, Anxiety Reliever, MoodTools, MoodKit, PE Coach, WorryWatch, MindShift, T2 Mood Tracker, Breathe2Relax, and so many more, have been designed specifically to help one improve their mental health, utilizing the technology and information sharing resources of today, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

You matter

One of the most important things to remember when deciding to sort through one’s own mental health issues is to talk. Do not stop talking. Suffering in silence will not benefit your health and wellbeing and can create additional issues. Divorce and custody fights may require you to face a great deal of stress and anguish, but do not let anyone tell you that how you feel does not matter. You matter. How you feel matters.

Establishing that as a basis for continually seeking improvements for your own mental health will give you the confidence to seek greater resources, in pursuit of a greater sense of wellness.

Men's Rights Editor

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