While modern society is gradually spreading its welcoming arms to the importance of women’s mental health wellbeing, men’s mental health issues, most of the time, tend to take a back seat. The patriarchal societal foundation has so much stigmatized men’s emotional needs that men still shy away from expressing their cognitive needs. As a result, a large chunk of the global male population, today, suffers from poor mental health in the absence of proper treatment support.
Studies have found that the suicide rate is 3 times higher among men in comparison to their female counterparts. In fact, according to research conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), it was found that one in seven Indians is suffering from mental health issues while estimates are that about 250 Indian males died by suicide every day in 2018 alone. In the light of such alarming numbers, IMHappiness, research and think tank lab on happiness and cognitive fitness, arranged a virtual talk with Daniel Weber & Suved Lohia on November 1 as a part of their mission to provide preventive care to men with mental health issues.
Mental health for men is often overlooked by society resulting in serious mental disorders in men. While women share a natural tendency to express their issues, the situation with men is quite different and grave. Being raised in a stigmatized society, they often take entirely another route while going through mental depression and try to find refuge in alcohol, other substances, or suicidal thoughts. IMHappiness, which works closely with UNICEF and the Department of Science and technology, strives to spread mental health awareness among people to raise the happiness index in India. Their goal is to assist people with mental issues in finding their way out from such situations and help them in living a happy life. So, they organize mental health awareness camps to promote mental fitness among Indians of all ages, gender, class, and caste.
Hosted by Aishwarya Jain, their latest virtual event was a part of that very effort of eliminating the stigma around male mental health. In the event, the speakers, Daniel Weber and Suved Lohia talked about the necessity of normalizing the conversations around mental health, especially the mental health of Indian men. They also discussed how men could avoid personal and professional stress coming in the way of their mental wellbeing. Suved stressed the importance of things like making your bed, affirmation, meditation, manifestation, exercise, reading, breathing, nutrition, and random acts of kindness in the process of tackling one’s elevated anxiety and stress level. On the other hand, Daniel’s focus remained on physical fitness, doing things you love, and not taking mental health lightly as a solution to the growing issue of men’s mental disorders.
Both of them considered early morning exercise as the best way to maintain a healthy mind and body irrespective of their gender. At the same time, they recognized that men require better mental support from their life partners, significant others, or women in general in their daily life to avoid any mental ailments. Love and support are the most effective cures. With an understanding demeanor, women can be really helpful in promoting emotional health in men. At the same time, men also need to spend some time developing self-awareness so that they can handle societal pressure without being prey to depression or anxiety.
Eastern cultures foster unrealistic expectations from their male population in every possible sector of life. Be it financial, familial, or anything else, eastern societies never fail to pressurize their men leading to higher mental morbidity in men. We are already in the 21st century and this ‘man-up’ culture needs to stop. The gender dynamics will only worsen the situation of already bad male mental health scenarios. It is time that we treat our men with empathy rather than sympathy and IMHappiness is all about that.