Men’s Counseling and Mental Health Issues:
Because men are more likely to die than women for all 15 leading causes of death, the average life expectancy for a male, at birth, is 74.6 years, while for women it’s 79.6 years.
Because men do not seek out medical or mental health information and take less responsibility for their health issues than women, men are more likely to die from cancer, heart disease, HIV infection, accidents, and suicide.
Because men are less likely to see themselves as physically or mentally ill, and, often delay or do not seek medical care or counseling when needed, even after the development of symptoms, men are much less likely to consult a doctor, therapist, or even a dentist, and therefore prolong or succumb to treatable illnesses.
Because men take greater risks with their health than women, men are more likely to drink, smoke, be overweight, use drugs, or expose themselves to UV radiation without using sunscreen, and are more likely than women to be at fault for a major or minor automobile accident.
Men are not inherently less healthy than women. The source of these gender differences in physical and mental health issues is the pressure men feel to live up to a masculine image or role that dictates that men should not show weakness, pain, or emotional struggle. Men avoid medical help or psychotherapy because exposing or talking about their fears, struggles, or “feelings” is viewed as admitting vulnerability.
Men have been taught to “stuff their pain”. As a result, men’s mental and physical health problems go undiagnosed, and men often find themselves at risk of contracting and prolonging many diseases or mental health issues that could otherwise be prevented. Beliefs about masculinity also encourage men to take risks with their health by self-medicating through abuse of alcohol, drugs, violence, and other risky behaviors.
Click here for my article on Men’s Mental Health Issues, in my Denver counseling practice.
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