Most men avoid therapy because most therapy approaches are not designed to help the male brain deal with pain or to find solutions. That makes men believe therapy is worthless. Follow on for Men’s Mental Health: Is It Going From Bad to Worse?
“Men’s depression is usually based on feeling helpless, powerless and unable to affect one’s life or environment. Therapy models focus on helping men feel heard and loved instead of restoring their sense of personal power. Men need solutions, not just feelings.” -Adam Lane Smith.
A hard pill to swallow, men’s mental health is going from bad to worse, and we still do not know what to do. Let’s talk a bit more about it.
An article written by John Mac Ghlionn (2023) called We must stop using a female model to treat men’s mental health uses the following data:
- Men make up 49% of the population but nearly 80% of all suicides.
- Every 13.7 minutes a man takes his life in the U.S. and depression is present in at least 50% of these suicides (Canada’s Centre for Suicide Prevention).
And, of course, the so-called solutions are female-based therapy and pills, but they do not seem to work as well as we thought.
Is this, perhaps, because we are trying to deny the differences between the male and female brain? Is that why we use the female approach of therapy to treat men? Let’s reflect on a small difference between the male and female brain, by Adam Lane Smith a psychotherapist and attachment specialist.
“Male brains like to observe problems (back) then solve them (front). So they move backward to forward. Female brains like to make connections and see relationships. So they observe (back) then cross the hemispheres a LOT.”
Another way to understand this can be by reflecting on societal standards and what happens when men follow them and even when they don’t.
We want men to be strong, independent, and ambitious, they must be providers and protectors for their families and are criticised if they do not reach the bar. But, at the same time, they are criticised when they aim at those characteristics.
All we are doing is creating immature men by punishing them and, the reason why male depression is rising is because we are confusing young boys, making them feel lost in life. Luciano Lutereau, an Argentinian Psychoanalyst, mentioned in one of his interviews how we shame the male standard and image by destroying it and labelling it as toxic, but then we do not present any other choice or solution.
This point can be represented by the A.P.A. shaming Stoicism and competitiveness in men, labelling them as harmful which does not make any sense (you can read more about this topic in my article: Modern Stoic Men: Lessons From Stoicism).
Another point to make is that we pretend we care about men’s issues and that we want men to talk, but then we are scared to go deep into the topic, and even silence the ones who are trying to talk.
Chris Williamson, host of the Modern Wisdom podcast, interviewed George TheTinMen, a content creator, filmmaker, and pro-men advocate who is trying to bring awareness to the world about men’s issues. Here is just a small point mentioned during the interview:
“In simple terms, if a woman has a problem, we ask what can we do to fix society? If a man has a problem, we ask what can men do to fix themselves?
It’s a blatant double standard, and people who are unwilling to admit any structural disadvantages faced by men are standing in the way of us solving the problems that are hurting men and also the potential partners whom they may no longer be viable for.
What is the point in asking men to talk if we are unwilling to listen or even acknowledge the societal issues that they are talking about? The problems are not in men’s heads, but out there in society.
We should not gaslight men into thinking they can solve these problems by just trying harder or being less toxically masculine.
If the patriarchy is so powerful why aren’t men flourishing more?”
So, what are these issues that are mentioned? Let’s just see some of George’s post topics:
- “Forced to penetrate” – the (unheard) experience of male victims of non-consensual sex with a woman
- The inherent sense of guilt hanging over men and boy’s advocacy
- Forgotten male heroism
- How the media manipulates what is expressed and shown – when the majority of deaths are men, there is no mention of it.
- Social media portrays the wrong idea of what men want to be happy.
These are just a few examples.
To conclude this article, I encourage you to keep searching, keep reading, and take a look at George’s Instagram profile @TheTinMen, where you can find this information and plenty of data and numbers backing up every single word and statement.
And as a solution to this hidden problem, well… maybe it’s time to start listening to men and to stop teaching them that they are evil from birth. That might be a good start. What are your thoughts?