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A Silent Epidemic: Addressing The Stigma Around Men’s Mental Health

Mental health conditions do not discriminate. While people of all genders can experience their share of mental health challenges, men often struggle to take action in seeking support. This silent epidemic has likely impacted your family, friends, teachers, coworkers, community members, and more. According to the World Health Organization, men are more than twice as likely to die by suicide than women. Despite these statistics, men have reported lower rates of depression, which is a significant suicidal risk factor. This discordant relationship implicates the glaring stigma around men’s mental health.

The Impacts Of Societal Stigmas Surrounding Men’s Mental Health

Throughout society, several barriers stand in the way of people receiving effective mental health care, and stigma can be considered one of the most destructive and problematic hurdles one has to cross. The impacts of stigma are both detrimental and far-reaching, affecting access to housing, employment, education, health care, and social support, amplifying the burden of mental health conditions.

Reductive notions surrounding gender roles, perceptions of weakness in seeking therapy, and austere cultural factors are only a few of the many societal factors that limit men from seeking mental health care. Men’s reservations in disclosing their mental health conditions are often shrouded in worry or fear and influenced by a public gaze that encourages men to act strong, tough, stoic, and unemotional.

To understand the true impact of mental health stigmas, researchers worked to distinguish between self-stigma and public (social) stigma. Self-stigma refers to the actions of individuals with mental health challenges who turn stigmatizing attitudes against and ultimately onto themselves. Public stigma refers to negative attitudes, stereotypes, and prejudices that society directs at those suffering from mental illnesses.

Gender difference studies have shown that men experience and verbalize more stigmatizing attitudes toward those with anxiety, depression, and those who die by suicide when compared to women. Collectively, these studies suggest that men are prone to internalizing mental health stigmas through adopting messages about what is and is not considered appropriate behaviour for men surrounding their mental health.

Working To Destigmatize Men’s Mental Health

When dissecting and exploring concepts such as adverse gender roles and social stigmas, society often deems such challenges as too complicated of a hurdle to overcome. So how can one help spark change in the way society views masculinity and encourage men to process their emotions and mental health in a different light? It begins by working to foster safe environments to open the conversation. Further, providing access to proper education and evidence-based treatment options is key in working to destigmatize men’s mental health and help men receive proper mental health support.

In fact, a study on men’s attitudes to mental health revealed that men expressed a strong willingness to use the internet to seek mental health support. As such, online mental health therapy can be an effective and empowering treatment option. Seeking mental health support via the internet can provide anonymity and feelings of self-directed help. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) may be particularly suitable for men as CBT emphasizes current challenges and provides a solution-focused approach with practical tools and techniques.

Empowering Men To Seek Mental Health Support

Given societal pressures, cultural norms, and beliefs that make men reluctant to seek treatment and address their mental health concerns, there is a crucial need to provide effective and easily accessible mental health treatment options. By providing a much greater degree of anonymity, self-directedness, autonomy in emotional disclosure, and practical tools, online mental health tools and programs such as the SilverCloud® by Amwell® programmes are promising treatment options for men.

The SilverCloud by Amwell platform is an evidence-based online CBT solution that empowers users to effectively manage and support their mental health through interactive tools and clinically proven programs. SilverCloud by Amwell digital health and wellbeing programmes offer an easily accessible online self-guided option for mental healthcare that fosters anonymity while also offering a confidential and judgment-free coached option. Each program consists of a suite of online modules designed for a user’s unique mental health concerns, such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, and more. Users work through the modules at their own pace and time and can also be assigned an online supporter who provides weekly feedback, additional encouragement, and guidance for getting the most out of the program content. Throughout the modules, users learn specific techniques from the CBT toolkit to solve problems and improve mental health.

Providing better treatment options and encouraging men to seek out these treatments is not only beneficial to improving the lives of the many men secretly struggling with mental health but is necessary to prevent the devastating and deadly consequences of ignoring mental health problems. Learn more about our online mental health programs for men.


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