Four words that cause lasting damage on men as a whole are “Big Boys Don’t Cry.”
Let me explain a little.
For generation after generation, men have had those words uttered to them as they were growing up.
Showing any sign of emotion was met with mockery.
Grieving, sad men have been made to feel weak.
When looking at the mental health statistics in the UK, more so in child loss, in a controlled group of 303 males from our site Daddys With Angels, you see figures of:
80.9% of men felt their mental health declined after the loss of a child.
From the study conducted by Daddys With Angels, the findings were:
11.6% of males attempted suicide following a loss of a child and 21.1% self-harmed following the loss of a child.
Another set of scary figures is in 2013, 6,233 suicides were recorded in the UK for people aged 15 and older.
Of these, 78% were male, and 22% were female.
From my own experiences of asking for help and only being prescribed pills, it’s quite clear to see why so many men are put off asking for help.
This is then coupled with people openly saying that you should be strong for your partner – which also has a negative impact.
Another factor to consider is many men don’t know how to process and channel emotions very well.
Photo credit: Daddys With Angels
This is often attributed to the fact that men are meant to “get on with it”, another dangerous expectation from men in society, which has lasting effects on mental health.
In the nearly five years since my son died, my eyes have been opened to how much damage society’s expectations on men’s mental health has had.
When my son died I had no idea how to handle any emotions, I sunk into society’s expectations of just getting on with it and supporting my partner.
For me, not knowing it was ok to grieve and that I wasn’t weak had a damaging effect on my mental health.
Pre-loss I had never had any mental health issues, so when I developed them I was not equipped for how to handle it.
A shift in society needs to happen and it needs to happen now.
Of course, statistics with child loss and men are just one section of a bigger picture when it comes to mental health, but the principles are the same:
Men and society need to see that it is OK not to be OK and to ask for help.
The full survey from Daddys With Angels can be found at https://bit.ly/2rnIg6n
My name is Warren Morris, I am an Angel dad to Oliver, and a Trustee at Daddys With Angels. I write on my experiences on my blog page. I truly believe men need more support. There is still a long way to go in society to make men realise that it’s OK not to be OK and you are not weak for seeking help and speaking out.