Breaking the mental health stigma
Culturall, there is a stigma surrounding mental illness and depression that makes it difficult for many people to admit they need help.For a long time, it has been frowned upon to seek help about mental illness, as it has been viewed as ‘not a real disease’ or ‘just a mental shortcoming.’ This stigma is an unfortunate relic from the past – an attitude developed by previous generations who did not have the medical understanding of mental health and wellbeing that we do now. Despite the archaic nature of this stigma, it is one that we have had a hard time letting go of. While the stigma surrounding mental illness and depression affects people of all genders, research shows that men tend to have an even harder time admitting they need help.
Although talking about your mental health can be challenging, it is an important step that can help you feel better. In order for your doctor to provide the best care possible, it would be advisable to tell the truth about what you’re feeling.
Don’t worry, if you’re finding it hard to open up, you can always bring a family or close friend and they could explain your situation instead.
Remember: There is absolutely no shame in asking for help.
Symptoms of depression in men:
Depression sometimes manifests differently in men than it does in women. While women with depression may seem sad, lethargic, or vacant, men are more likely to appear aggressive, angry and irritable. Because depression in men often hides behind these more hostile emotions, it is sometimes difficult for men to recognise what is going on within themselves, and even harder for others to recognise it in them.
We encourage you to view your mental health as a priority, and seek help if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Changes in mood
- Changes in work performance
- Sadness, despair, hopelessness, or loss of pleasure/enjoyment in things that once brought happiness
- Noticeable weight changes
- Loss of appetite
- Physical symptoms such as frequent headaches, dizziness, or stomach issues
If you notice some of these symptoms in your loved ones, it is important to remind them that asking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Remind them that the medical industry has come a long way, and there are now a lot of resources available.
How your GP can support you
Your GP will listen to you and provide the care you need. Parkhill Medical Center offers mental health care plans as a means to support your mental health. A mental health care plan is a support plan for someone who is going through mental health issues. If a doctor agrees that you need additional support, you and the doctor will make the plan together.
A mental health care plan might include:
- A referral to an expert, like a psychologist
- The types of mental health care that can support you
- Other strategies to improve and maintain your mental health, such as tips for a healthy head space.
To organize a mental health care plan, you will need to book an appointment with your GP. When you book, ensure you mention it is for a mental health plan, so the right amount of time is set aside for your appointment.
It is normal to feel nervous. It may help to write down a list of the things you want guidance and support with beforehand,This is a non-judgemental space where you can be open, honest and vulnerable to receive the best support suited for you.
Well done – getting a mental health care plan is a massive step towards being happier, healthier and more connected.
Below are Counselling and Online Support Information Services for Men
There are help lines specifically for men that are struggling with their mental health that are listed below.
Man Therapy is designed to get blokes to take practical action to take charge of depression and/or anxiety, and to combat suicidal thoughts. http://www.mantherapy.org.au/
MensLine Australia is a professional telephone and online support and information service for Australian men 24/7
Phone 1300 78 99 78 http://www.mensline.org.au/