The National Institute of Mental Health cited statistics showing the suicide rate among males was 3.7 times higher than among females. For centuries we have been socialized to believe that men are the stronger sex and exist to protect and provide for women. As Lea Winerman wrote:
“Try to imagine the Marlboro man in therapy. The image just doesn't compute, does it? The Marlboro man wouldn't admit to needing help. The Marlboro man wouldn't talk about his emotions. For that matter, the Marlboro man might not even recognize that he has emotions.”
According to a study cited in Winerman’s article, published by the American Psychological Association, more than two-thirds of the mental health related outpatient visits are made by women. Men need mental health services, but they won’t seek them. Why? I believe it is because men are socialized to believe that focusing on feelings or admitting to needing help shows weakness. This manifests in many areas of life. Most of the time, if a couple goes in to see the Bishop for Church assistance, the man will feel the shame far more acutely than his wife. He will look at their being in the Bishop’s office as reflecting his failure as a man. How many women have ever struggled with the idea that losing their jobs could mean losing their marriages? Many men wrestle with that fear every day.
In fairness, women are also socialized with the same expectations as men are—that men will be superman, not cry, pull themselves up by their bootstraps, and overcome insurmountable odds to make everything work out for the family, particularly in the financial realm. When a man experiences hardships, he is frequently alone because he feels ashamed, and sharing his fears can make his wife feel insecure and lead to more shame.
A man experiencing mental health concerns will often experience business or career setbacks because he lacks the life energy to properly focus at work. When this happens, anxiety and depression worsen. Because he cannot verbalize his pain or seek treatment without shame, he is frequently isolated and alone. True strength includes the good judgment to know when we need help and to seek it without shame. We need women who will support this and develop the capacity to listen to their men in true vulnerability and fear—without becoming fearful themselves. To deal with this problem, we need a new societal paradigm recognizing that vulnerability is courageous for both men and women—and that part of a man’s taking personal responsibility for himself includes seeking treatment for mental health problems when necessary.
Our coaching does not treat trauma or serious mental health problems, but we do provide a safe place for men to discuss their challenges without shame and to receive support and help with elevating thoughts to make a positive difference with what is manifesting in life. If you would like our support, simply reply to this email to schedule a coaching session so we can be of personalized assistance through LILY Coaching.
FEATURED THIS WEEK
LILY Pod Episode 57: Women, Let’s not Underestimate our Men
LILY Tube Video: The Key to Happiness
LILY Tube Interview: Guide to Finding Love In Later Years
Enjoy our new podcast on “LILY Pod” about this important topic of not underestimating the men in our lives. Watch our new video on “LILY Tube” to learn more about the key to happiness. Also available, our interview on the “Vitality Health Show” which explores healing from loss, rebuilding after divorce, and creating new healthy relationships at mid-life and beyond.
If you enjoy this letter, forward to a friend. Our goal is to support as many mid-singles and later-married couples as possible!
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