Mental Health Checklist For The Repressed Gender: A Male
“Sexuality is who you want to be with. Gender identity is who you want to be in the world.”
- Hari Nef
Gender as a term implies more as an adjective than as a noun in the social systems today. It somehow creates a system that follows the bandwagon of the social norms by repudiating the free will to live.
While taking into account the existing gender biases under the umbrella of the genders coexisting in the current society, the cis-gendered population is no more an exclusion to the same. Although society is labeled to be “a world of men”, males are prey to gender disparities and discrimination too.
Alpha Male & Mental Health -
The constant societal pressure of being the ‘alpha male’, certainly has its roots in history and religious contexts. The script of Ramayana has traces of the King Lord Rama to be termed as “Maryada Purushottam”. There are many such illustrations of the Gods to be symbolizing power and strength. This could be the unconscious factors attributing to the toxic ideals of masculinity.
Along with the historical stories, being a martyr for the nation was considered to be the true essence of being a warrior and apparently a male. It gradually started to build up to be the social criterion to qualify as a male and to survive in society. Eventually, the ones who failed to abide by the same had a risk of losing social status.
Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota -
Men were expected to hide their emotions and deal with their mental health issues in a different way by consuming alcohol, drugs, self-medicating, or simply repressing it all within themselves. Men talking about their mental health was considered to be perilous. The males who could not sustain themselves through this were considered to be effeminate and a symbol of weakness. Today, male stressors range from peer pressure, not being entitled to be vulnerable, and other personal stressors to work pressure. The conditioning of “mard ko dard nahi hota” has negatively resulted in taking a toll on the mental health of men.
Men & Depression -
Research studies indicate that women diagnosed with depression are more in comparison to men. However, men showing symptoms of depression are more than women as a result of not reporting to therapy. There are reported suicides among men due to various stressors, many of whom do not have a documented mental health history. Underreported data masks the true scenario of mental health care, especially in the case of males in India.
However, in the modern-day scenario, as a result of the rising importance of mental health care and well-being, society is gradually growing up to be gender sensitive. We are in the transition phase of accepting every individual as a human first irrespective of gender and other social biases.
The doors of seeking mental health assistance and owning their vulnerabilities are now open to men. Though there has not been a complete openness to accepting a male being weak, the changing scenarios are seen to be reflected through the media. As the media has always been a mirror depicting the contemporary picture of the society. We can witness the changes ranging from the protagonist being an angry young man to a vulnerable man today.
A recent study in 2021 states that about 70% of calls to India’s first national mental health helpline KIRAN were from men. There is a readiness among the males to seek support and own the weak spots in their lives as a result of the gradually evolving and accepting society that we are being into.
Considering the changing scenario and need for a men's mental health checklist specifically for men becomes an emerging necessity.
- Men being emotionally sensitive towards each other could be beneficial for men to talk to each other openly and support each other through their lows and not stigmatize each other for being weak.
- Creating room for males to vent out and letting them know that it is courageous to own the weak spots in one's life.
- Letting them know that they are beyond their genders and are allowed to be who they wish to be regardless.
- It is important to give high regard to mental health care along with physical health and other responsibilities.
- Color choices and career preferences- It is very important for a man to choose his career and other personal preferences like colors regardless of gender norms.
- Resort to mental health care and services when one feels the need.
- Being mindful about whether their actions initiated from them being a male or from being themselves.
It is a crucial time to address mental health care in society as a whole and amongst men in specific. It is time we realize we are not alone through this but with each other in this. Let mental health care be a routine and no more a checklist to follow!
image credit : freepik