Blog Content Contributor
San Marcos – International Men’s Day, coined by Dr. Jerome TeeluckSingh, is celebrated on Nov. 9. This day brings awareness to men’s mental health issues.
Men, especially men of color and men within the LGBTQ+ community face higher rates of mental health issues. In many cases, there are lack of resources and lack of encouragement for them to seek out help which can rooted in cultural beliefs.
“Much of the pushback against seeking treatment stems from ideas along the lines of: We have survived so much adversity and now someone is going to say that there’s something wrong with us,” said Clinical Associate Professor Ruth White in the article Why Mental Health Care is Stigmatized in Black Communities.
According to the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), while less than half of Americans can receive treatment, black men only receive half of much treatment compared to white men. For black men, due to medical mistrust and systemic racism, there is a high chance that treatment isn’t the preferred route for receiving mental help.
Ongoing homophobia, discrimination and medical biases heavily impact men within the LGBTQ+ community. The stress of one coming out is already a cause for concern, therefore, many fear seeking treatment. In the past year, serious mental health issues for men within the LGBTQ+ community, such as depression, bipolar disorder and PTSD, are now 3 times higher than their heterosexual counterparts.
“We know that statistically, lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans face increased risks for mental health and substance use issues, which is often related to stress caused by stigma, discrimination and harassment,” said HHS Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., and the leader of SAMHSA.
For all communities involved, from men of color to the LGBTQ+ community, issues such as discrimination and systemic issues have played major roles in the increase in mental health issues. Discrimination takes many forms, such as cyberbullying or ostracization by their peers based on race or sexuality. Prejudice beliefs can also place men of color and men within the LGBTQ+ community in harm’s way, making it difficult to speak up about personal struggles or mental health issues.
Fortunately, stigmas around mental health issues does not carry the same weight, and people can retrieve information about mental health issues from online. For society to push towards more inclusivity within the mental health realm for men of color and men within the LGBTQ+ community, there needs to be a general understanding of how mental health issues can show up.
A helpful tactic to better understand a community is educating oneself on what resources are best suited for an individual. For some, sports and physical activity can be a way to help encourage an individual to better manage some mental health issues. For others, things such as talk therapy with a mental health professional can be just as beneficial. The main point is that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all for those seeking mental help.
However, welfare programs or medical options aren’t always available, especially for people who are at risk of poverty or below the poverty line. This is one of the reasons why it’s recommended that creating a safe space for one another can help encourage others to speak up.
Whether it’s an online space or even on a college campus, everyone must work together to make a safe space where everyone can speak on their experiences.
Written by: Cayla Soriano