Mental health is a hugely overlooked subject, and men’s mental health problems are rarely taken into account. The reasons are many, from preconceived notions about how an “ideal man” should behave, to pressures imposed on them by society, causing men to refrain from expressing their mental health concerns and seeking medical help to treat these problems. However, by increasing awareness about men’s mental health problems, the gap in treatment of these disorders can be narrowed down, and more males will be encouraged to come forward and openly share their emotions.
Since June is men’s mental health awareness month, ABP Live spoke to Dr Meenakshi Jain, Senior Consultant Psychiatrist, Amrita Hospital, Faridabad; Dr Sameer Malhotra, Director and Head, Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket; and Dr Ashish Mittal, Medical Director, Athena Behavioral Health, Gurgaon, and asked them about the ways through which awareness about men’s mental health can be improved.
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According to Dr Jain, stakeholders, including the government and health organisations, must take multiple steps to improve men’s mental health. She explained that raising awareness is the most important tool to reduce the treatment gap, especially for substance use disorders. “This can be done through community-based awareness programmes that utilise digital technologies such as social media, podcasts and mobile applications.”
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Dr Mittal said that improving men’s mental health and raising awareness about men’s mental health problems needs a multifaceted approach. He explained that it is crucial to break the societal stigma surrounding mental health and create an environment where men feel comfortable seeking help. “Education and public campaigns aimed at promoting mental health literacy can play a significant role in fostering understanding and acceptance. In addition to general awareness, tailored initiatives targeting men’s unique challenges can be beneficial. This can involve outreach programmes, support groups, and workshops that address topics such as masculinity, stress management, relationships, and emotional well-being. Encouraging open conversations and providing safe spaces for men to express their feelings can also be helpful.”
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Dr Malhotra said that a supportive environment, a healthy job environment, encouragement of healthy lifestyles, healthy sleep schedules, performing recreational activities, practising yoga and meditation, consuming a healthy and balanced diet, exercising, spending time with close people, avoiding drugs, and managing time appropriately can help improve men’s mental health. “Timely recognition of distress and receiving support from family and friends will significantly improve men’s mental health.”
According to Dr Jain, telepsychiatry can help deliver mental health services remotely, and may improve mental health problems and substance use disorders. She said that digital technologies and community-based awareness programmes can be used to reduce stigma associated with mental health disorders by providing education and information about mental health and substance abuse issues. “Peer support groups which provide counselling can also improve men’s mental health. The government should make policies to ensure discrimination against those suffering from mental health illnesses are reduced, and workplaces must also take active steps.”
Dr Jain concluded that organisations must adopt mental illness screening programmes for early detection and management of mental illnesses.
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