May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and
despite the fact that the public discourse on mental health has changed
dramatically over the past decade, there are still stark differences between
males and mental health. Barriers such as stigma, masculinity norms, and social
factors have direct effects on how men perceive, approach, and manage their
mental health. Although all genders are affected by mental health, it is often
overlooked in men because they are less likely than women to speak up or seek
assistance. According to a report by the World Health Organisation, the number
of male suicide deaths in high-income countries in 2018 was three times that of
female suicide deaths. The obstacles that men frequently encounter when
discussing and treating mental illness are not novel. Expanding the
conversation about why these barriers exist, however, can help raise awareness
of the issue and alleviate the shame or "differentness" that many
males feel regarding mental health.
In theory, discussing mental health with
others is similar to discussing a broken bone or other physical ailment, but
the stigma prevents many men from speaking up. Not only does stigma prevent men
from disclosing mental illness to loved ones, but it also prevents them from
coping with or seeking help on their own. Men's relationship with mental health
is affected by social stigma, self-stigmatization, occupational stigma, and
cultural stigma, among others. A negative example is the belief that
"people with depression are weak." This type of external stigma
arises from the misconception that mental illness reflects an individual's
personality. These misunderstandings result in stigma, avoidance, and rejection
of individuals with mental illness. Self-stigma, also known as perceived
stigma, is an internal stigma that an individual places on themselves.
Self-stigmatized individuals internalise negative attitudes and opinions
regarding their mental illness, which results in judgement and humiliation
regarding their symptoms. When health care professionals propagate stigma
against patients through negative attitudes, occupational stigma results. These
attitudes are frequently motivated by fear or a lack of comprehension regarding
the causes and symptoms of mental illness. In addition, the public or other
health care professionals may stigmatise professionals because of their work
and association with mentally unwell individuals. The concept of cultural
stigma refers to how a culture interprets mental illness. Culture influences a
person's beliefs, values, and norms, and has a direct bearing on how people
evaluate certain diseases. Culture also influences whether individuals seek
assistance, the type of assistance they seek, and how they respond and support.
A report titled "Changing the Language
of Addiction" was published in 2017 by Michael P. Botticelli, Director of
the Office of National Drug Control Policy of USA. As per the document, certain
terminologies employed while discussing substance use may imply that the
individual in question is inherently flawed. The author proceeds to assert that
the term "person in recovery" encompasses a range of interpretations,
but typically denotes an individual who is reducing or ceasing their substance
use in order to attain a healthier state. Individuals undergoing recovery can
persist with the administration of pharmacological interventions and avail
themselves of biopsychosocial support.
society's notion of masculinity prevents many men from speaking out about their
Our culture and society's pervasive
masculine standards present a further barrier for men with mental health
issues. Masculinity norms are the culturally expected social and behavioural
norms of masculinity. Idioms such as "be strong", "be a
man", and "don't make a man cry" perpetuate the notion that men
should not exhibit sorrow or sadness, and that doing so is a sign of weakness.
These masculinity norms discourage men from seeking assistance from mental
health professionals for fear of having their masculinity diminished. Men are
also less likely to seek medical assistance than women because they disregard
their symptoms, self-stigmatize, and avoid discussing their mental health. In
the United States and many other cultures, men are typically not taught or
socialised to discuss their emotions or problems. Conversely, the majority of
women learn how to express themselves, whereas the majority of males are
completely excluded from conversations. They cannot discuss their concerns, and
some cannot even identify them.
obstacles for males of colour in terms of their mental health
Men of colour face additional challenges
and risk factors that affect their mental health and attitudes, in addition to
stigma and masculinity. Increased exposure to destitution and violence, lack of
economic opportunity, and high incarceration rates are risk factors for men of
colour. Men of colour are at a higher risk for isolation and mental illness due
to the stigma against all male help seekers and unique stressors.
When a person has one or more mental health
disorders and a substance use disorder (SUD), they have a dual diagnosis or
concurrent disorder. Often, mental health disorders and SUDs co-occur because
some individuals with mental illness self-medicate with substances, and
substance abuse can drastically exacerbate or even cause new mental health
disorder symptoms. Although co-occurring disorders can affect people of any
gender, some substance use disorders are more prevalent among males. Given the
additional concern that men are less likely than women to seek treatment for
health problems and substance addiction, co-occurring disorders in men may not
us proceed and remove the stigma from mental health and addiction.
Our language helps us understand and
interpret the world around us. They convey meaning whether the effect is good
or bad. We can use our words to help decrease stigma.
We can reduce stigma by shifting the view
and the visibility of recovering individuals. The community needs to create a
visible social identity of recovery and meaningful activity.
As Wilton and DeVerteuil have demonstrated,
a highly visible recovery community with celebrations of recovery achievement
can change the outlying community’s attitudes and perceptions.
Stigma-reducing interventions focus on
promoting self-esteem and self-efficacy; empowerment through peer support,
mentoring, and education to dispel myths and increase social and coping skills;
and education to encourage treatment engagement . Treatment engagement
is significant because evidence-based treatments have been shown to facilitate
recovery by promoting behaviors, such as symptom monitoring, continuing to take
prescribed medications, and seeking out supported employment opportunities; and
by encouraging family interventions, increasing skills related to illness
management, and promoting entry into integrated treatment for mental and
substance use disorders (Corrigan et al.,
2009a, 2009b, 2014). For many individuals, disclosure may be an initial step in
the process of reducing self-stigma when it can be done in a safe and strategic
manner (Bos et al., 2009; Corrigan and Rao, 2012).
Despite the norms, biases, and certain risk
factors that cause men to struggle with their mental health and seek treatment,
more men are sharing their personal experiences specially at the best alcohol addiction treatment center in India.
Numerous male athletes and personalities, discuss their experiences with
anxiety and depression openly, today. Talking about your mental illness
experiences can open avenues for others by directly challenging the stigma that
surrounds you. It is essential that individuals receive the assistance and
treatment they may require to maintain mental health at the best
treatment center for alcohol addiction, regardless of social, cultural,
or even personal expectations. Contact www.luxuryrehabfinder.com
for knowing about the
the best rehabilitation centres in India for addiction and mental
Read More Top
10 Luxury Rehabs Centres in India
MP: Changing the language of addiction. Office of Drug Control Policy,.
Accessed on 19 June 2023.
- Snodgrass S. The Power of Words:
Changing the Language of Addiction. Dunlap: Broken No More. http://broken-no-more.org/power-words/ Accessed on 19 June 2023.
- Zwick, J., Appleseth, H. &
Arndt, S. Stigma: how it affects the substance use disorder patient. Subst
Abuse Treat Prev Policy 15, 50 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13011-020-00288-0
https://substanceabusepolicy.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13011-020-00288-0 Accessed on 19 June 2023.
- Wilton R, DeVerteuil G. Spaces
of sobriety/sites of power: examining social model alcohol recovery
programs as therapeutic landscapes. Soc Sci Med. 2006;63(3):649–61.
Accessed on 19 June
- Corrigan PW, Larson JE, Ruesch
N. Self-stigma and the “why try” effect: Impact on life goals and
evidence-based practices. World
Psychiatry. 2009a;8(2):75–81. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19516923/
Accessed on 19 June
- Corrigan PW, Kuwabara SA,
O'Shaughnessy J. The public stigma of mental illness and drug addiction
findings from a stratified random sample. Journal of Social
Accessed on 19 June
- Corrigan PW, Druss BG, Perlick
DA. The impact of mental illness stigma on seeking and participating in
mental health care. Psychological Science in the Public
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26171956/ Accessed on 19 June 2023.
- Bos AE, Kanner D, Muris P,
Janssen B, Mayer B. Mental illness stigma and disclosure: Consequences of
coming out of the closet. Issues in Mental Health
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19591025/ Accessed on 19 June 2023.
- Corrigan PW, Rao D. On the
self-stigma of mental illness: Stages, disclosure, and strategies for
change. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. 2012;57(8):464.
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22854028/ Accessed on 19 June 2023.
Danish Hussain (MBBS, MD Psychiatry, MIPS)
Dr. Danish received his M.D. Psychiatry and
M.B.B.S. degrees from Rajiv Gandhi University of Medical Sciences (Bangalore,
Karnataka). He has worked at the Manipal Multispecialty Hospitals Bangalore,
following which has continued to undergo regular training from prestigious
institutes from all over the world. Dr. Danish serves as Assistant Professor
and Head of Department of Psychiatry at AFSMS & RC and is a member of
Indian Psychiatric Society. Dr. Danish uses a holistic approach with his
patients and brings his expertise at practice to treat varied behavioral health
problems from Addiction disorders to Depression, Anxiety, Personality disorders
and OCD. Dr. Danish’s goal is to educate and inform the public on addiction
issues and help those in need of treatment find the best option for them. And
with this being his consistent vision, he believes in de-stigmatizing the field
of addiction psychiatry and rehabilitation center treatment in India and has
been managing and working at a licensed dual-diagnosis facility in New Delhi.
Through his contributions to rehabsindia.in he aims at providing licensed,
professional rehabilitative care choices to patients and their families.
Rath (M. Phil in Clinical Psychology)
Sudipta Rath has completed her MPhil in
clinical psychology from Utkal University in Odisha (India) in 2020 and is
currently practicing in New Delhi as a clinical psychologist at dual diagnosis
facility. She is a licensed RCI practitioner specializing in all forms of
psychotherapy. Addiction and mental health are personal subjects for her, and
her goal is that she can give a helping hand to those seeking healthy and lasting