Poor Male Mental Health: The Physical Signs
International Men’s Day is about celebrating the positive value men bring to the world, their families, and communities. And they do. Every day. Which is why it’s so sad that suicide is still the leading cause of death among 20-49-year-old men**. When it comes to male mental health, there is still a lot of work left to be done.
The general reluctance of men to ‘open up’ or talk about their feelings is well documented. So, it’s great to see that tide start to turn as public figures from the world of sport, entertainment, and even politics become more open about their own struggles, and discussing male mental health as a whole.
It seems like it’s sometimes easier for men to start a discussion around a physical ailment or symptom, rather than to seek help directly for their emotional stresses and strains. But there’s a close link between physical, mental and emotional health. And for us to function properly as human beings these need to be in alignment.
So why don’t a lot of men talk?
Everyone is different but there are some common reasons why men often retreat behind a wall of silence:
- They consider admitting to a problem or asking for help as a sign of weakness. This feeling can be underlined by society’s inclination towards expressions such as ‘man up’ or ‘grow a pair’
- They worry that it’s less socially acceptable for men to express their feelings. Especially on an ongoing basis.
- They don’t form friendships in the same way as women. Neither in terms of the number of friends they have nor in relation to the type of support they offer each other. This can leave them feeling isolated and that they don’t have anyone they can confide in.
The Physical Impact
But when emotional issues go unaddressed they can often develop into physical ones. Some common physical manifestations of emotional problems include:
- Headaches, backache or other aches and pains
- Stomach issues including pain, nausea and diarrhoea
- Grinding of teeth, especially at night
- Reduced ability to heal from physical injury – from simple niggles to more complicated complaints.
Wider Thinking on Male Mental Health
If these types of physical problems are causing an issue, it’s worth considering when the problem started and whether an emotional issue at the time could have been a trigger. With a whole range of options available to help men address emotional issues that may be impacting their enjoyment of life, as well as treating the ongoing physical problems these may cause, maybe it’s time to throw out the ‘put up and shut up’ handbook, and ask for that help?
** Office for National Statistics
Robin Kiashek is a London based Osteopath and Naturopath with clinics in Soho and East Finchley. He is registered with The General Osteopathic Council and The British Naturopathic Association, and has expanded his breadth of expertise to encompass a range of therapies, including Low Level Laser Therapy, Western Acupuncture, Autogenic Training and Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP).