EXPLAINER: What you need to know about men’s mental health month

Men's Mental Health Month, observed every June, is dedicated to raising awareness about the mental health challenges men face and encouraging them to seek help.

The month-long campaign aims to break the stigma surrounding men's mental health issues and promote open conversations about their mental well-being.

Men's mental health is often overlooked due to societal expectations and traditional gender roles that discourage emotional expression.

Many men feel pressured to appear strong and self-reliant, which can lead to the suppression of emotions and reluctance to seek help.

According to Red Cross Kenya, 40 per cent of Kenyan men have never spoken about their mental health.

Mental health can have serious consequences, including higher rates of suicide among men compared to women.

Recognising and addressing these issues is crucial for improving overall mental health outcomes for men.

Red Cross Kenya highlighted that men are four times likely to commit suicide making upto 80 per cent of all suicide - one in ten men experience depression and half receive treatment.

During mental break down, men can experience a range of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, stress and substance abuse.

Furthermore, men also face changes in behaviour such as increased irritability, anger or withdrawal from social interactions.

Physical symptoms include unexplained aches, digestive problems or changes in sleep patterns is also experienced by men during mental illness.

Risky behaviours such as increased alcohol or drug use, reckless driving, or other dangerous activities are also a sign of mental illness in men.

Emotional changes inlcude persistent sadness, hopelessness or feelings of worthlessness.

Men are encouraged to open up in safe spaces where they feel comfortable discussing their feelings without judgment to curb mental health problems.

Promoting healthy lifestyles such as regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep, can all positively impact mental health.

Seeking help is a critical step towards managing and overcoming mental health challenges.

Understanding and showing sympathy to those struggling with mental illness also works to lessen the struggle and pain.

Men are also advised to seek therapy, counselling and support groups which can provide them with the tools they need to cope with their emotions and improve their mental well-being.

Additionally, speaking openly about mental health can help normalise conversations around men's mental health and help reduce stigma.

Various organizations worldwide participate in Men's Mental Health Month, offering a range of activities and resources to support men’s mental well-being.

Some notable campaigns include:

  • Movember: Known for its focus on men's health, including mental health. Movember encourages men to grow mustaches to raise awareness and funds.
  • Men's Health Week: Occurring in the middle of June, this week emphasises the importance of men's physical and mental health through screenings, education and outreach.

Men's Mental Health Month is important since it creates an opportunity to shed light on the often-neglected issue of men's mental health.

By fostering open dialogue, supporting those in need and promoting mental health

resources, we can help men lead healthier, more fulfilling lives.

Source: www.the-star.co.ke

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