We have a problem. Us men. The research tells us that, as boys, we have a higher prevalence (a 2:1 ratio) of mental health problems compared to women. The suicide rate for adult males is double that of females, substance abuse rates up to six times higher than females, and yet females are twice as likely to access professional help when needed. Why don’t we ask for help when it is clear that we need it?
A recent research study by Beyond Blue investigating the help-seeking behaviour of men concluded that, although the community stigma related to mental health and seeking help had shifted positively over the years, self-stigma remained alive and well. For men this self-stigma often relates to being perceived as weak for needing to access help.
So are you simply weak if you struggle with mental health difficulties and access professional help? I have to say that some of the strongest people I have met in my life have been the people I have met in my professional work as a clinical psychologist. Some of these people have battled hardship that would have crushed me. Some of them manage life with mental health difficulties that make each day a battle. Some of them have taught me what it means to fight on in the face of huge adversity. These men are the ones who have said ‘enough is enough!’, refusing to let their struggles define their lives.
As a male clinical psychologist, I am well-aware of the challenge accessing psychological help can present for men. As well as getting past the barriers of perception, there is also a general lack of male clinicians working in the field. At themindspace we have worked hard to build a clinic that works for men. We currently have three male clinicians working at themindspace. We are passionate about helping men to thrive. We believe that society is calling for us to be effective partners, fathers, sons, employers, workers, and friends. And it is by working together that we can address our areas of weakness, utilise our strengths, and become significant contributors to our local community and the wider world we live in. Big Boys are the ones who ask for help!