I have a tremendous passion for men’s mental health because I’ve seen firsthand through my own HR work how hard it is for some men to ask for help with depression, anxiety and other issues affecting their lives at work and at home. Internalising emotions isn’t healthy – and men can bottle things up in ways that only increase their emotional burdens over time.
In Australia, around 1 in 8 men will experience depression and 1 in 5 will face anxiety, putting them at higher risk for suicide than women. Averaged out, 6 out of 8 suicides in Australia are males. These suicide deaths amount to almost twice the annual Aussie road toll.
There’s a lot of societal pressure to adhere to masculine stereotypes, especially in certain industries and workplace climates. This can occasionally lead to a kind of ‘toxic masculinity’ that actively discourages the reporting of bullying. Men are convinced they need to be ‘tough’ and shoulder the burden of victimisation alone, lest they be perceived as ‘soft’ or ‘weak’. Unfortunately, bullying can cause powerful emotions to surface in men that can lead to serious health risks over time, especially since there is normally a reluctance to share feelings of sadness, confusion, fear or self-doubt with their peers.