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Men’s mental health matters: Breaking down barriers and seeking support

Men’s mental health matters: Breaking down barriers and seeking support

By Herle Otto
Old Mutual Namibia, Organisational Effectiveness Officer.

In Namibia, as in many parts of the world, there’s a silent struggle happening among men – a struggle with mental health. But why is it silent? Why aren’t we talking about it more openly? The truth is, there are several reasons why men tend to keep their mental health struggles to themselves.

For one, there’s this idea that men should be tough, strong, and always in control. Showing vulnerability or admitting to feeling overwhelmed is often seen as a sign of weakness. As a result, many men suffer in silence, fearing judgment or ridicule if they speak up about their mental health challenges.

Another reason is the stigma surrounding mental illness. In our society, there’s still a lot of misunderstanding and discrimination when it comes to mental health. Many men worry that seeking help for their mental health issues will label them as “crazy” or “unstable,” which is a terrifying thought for anyone.

But here’s the thing – mental health doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care if you’re a man or a woman, young or old, rich or poor. It can affect anyone, regardless of their background or circumstances. And the longer we ignore it or pretend it doesn’t exist, the more damage it can do.

So, what can we do about it? How can we break down these barriers and create a culture where men feel comfortable seeking support for their mental health?

Firstly, we need to start talking about it more openly. We need to create more platforms normalise conversations around mental health and let men know that it’s okay to not be okay. We need to show them that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Secondly, we need to educate ourselves and others about mental health. We need to learn how to recognise the signs and symptoms of common mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. We need to know where to turn for help and support when we need it.

And finally, we need to create more accessible and inclusive mental health services. We need to make sure that men feel comfortable seeking help and that the support they receive is tailored to their needs.

At the end of the day, men’s mental health matters. It’s time to break down the barriers and start talking openly about it. Together, we can create a society where men feel supported, valued, and able to live their best lives – mental health struggles and all.


 

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A Guest Contributor is any of a number of experts who contribute articles and columns under their own respective names. They are regarded as authorities in their disciplines, and their work is usually published with limited editing only. They may also contribute to other publications. - Ed.