By Fatihah Irdina
11th of October marked World Mental Health Day. We have come a long way to address the weight of this matter as it has always been formally termed a taboo in terms of bringing light to openly discuss the wide and various issues in relation to mental health.
As years progressed and technology became a medium that is accessible to many, the discourse over mental health includes all parties across the world, regardless of age, race and religion, because with just one click away information regarding mental health is available, at the same time, an opportunity for government leaders, civil society organisations, and others to take action.
Acting on an action depends on the context that is suitable, should it needs a solution, a change in system, provides healthcare and others in order to ensure adequacy in the field. As such, involvement of experts from various fields, such as psychologists, therapists, counsellors and teachers play an important role in the longevity of safeguarding the mental health community.
Much has progressed in the community. To list a few: online discussions, mental health webinars; group support, both online and offline; suicide helpline; mental health page on Instagram, and others. Although advancements allow more individuals to receive and seek help, the digital age also opens the door for online fatigue.
Not much has been said on men and their role on this date. Men are the silent sufferers who loom their heads and days will make them go silent as their minds are warped with the thought of present, future and past.
In this modern age, women empowerment is a movement, an endearment to society because for years women have always been a mercenary to men. Whilst this is great, the silence endured by men is also a sign of declining mental health.
Men are tasked with the responsibility that extends beyond the norm’s expectations. We often see their strength that lies physically as opposed to their weekly gym sessions. Aside from that, men also have to shoulder many responsibilities; a father has to be financially equipped to support his wife and children; a widower has to be there for himself. In parallel fashion, men also have to bear the burden of handling their emotional needs are met.
A sad case amongst men is their inability to be open and vulnerable of their emotional state, whether in a family household, amongst their friends, or in public. As a result, they resort to bottling their emotions in an unhealthy manner, avoiding clear communication with another human being.
According to a report, two middle-aged men die by suicide in Nanyuki. One body was found hanging on a tree at Muslim public cemetery, Asian Quarters estate, while the other was found hanging in his rental house at Thingithu estate.
In the same article, it reported that the suicide cases involving men as victims increased from one to seven in a week, and they are aged 35 and below. This report aligns with the fact that nearly three-quarters of adults who go missing are men.
Mental health statistics showed that 87% of rough sleepers are men. This evidence shows a dire need to include men when addressing mental health issues.
We often forget that we live in a world where there are two genders. Addressing an issue that favours one gender over another will only bring more damage than good as there is imbalance.
For a peaceful and a sane society, there should be coexistence with one another. Making one room bigger than the rest, limiting access for men to openly discuss or share their feelings through the right platform will only increase the number in suicide statistics.
Behind these numbers are someone’s father, boyfriend or husband. Hence, an all inclusive solution should end the conflict as well as instil acceptance.
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, ” according to Ralph Waldo Emerson.
That being said, we should also show appreciation towards men who are working in healthcare, domestic field and even fathers working from home more often. It starts from a grass root level, appreciating our friends at work, and classmates during school that begins at an early age. ***
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