Why Your Mental Health Doesn’t Define Your Masculinity

    Mental health is an increasing problem in the modern world, especially with the recent Coronavirus pandemic, which has brought these issues into the spotlight more than ever. Men can often suffer more than women due to the toxic masculinity that they often face from a very young age. Men are expected to be full of macho bravado and even when young they aren’t allowed to cry for fear of being seen as a girl.

    However, in the 21st Century, this outdated approach to masculinity is changing and men are being encouraged to open up and talk about their feelings for the first time.

    Here we are going to take a look at why your mental health doesn’t define your masculinity.


    Men grew up believing that they ought to act like brave, tough warriors who didn’t show any emotions and that if anything happened to them then they should just get on with it. This attitude was often passed down from father to son which only resulted in a more deeply entrenched version of masculinity.

    Boys grew into men believing that this is the way they ought to behave and the upshot of this is that they don’t know how to cope when they are faced with problems and consequently start to have mental health issues such as depression.

    This need to be masculine has become a stigma to the extent that many men refuse to acknowledge that they have any sort of problem, which only leads to bigger problems such as using drugs to mask real feelings and emotions. Why do having emotions make you any less of a man? Of course, it doesn’t, but until this stigma changes in society men will be burdened with these pressures.


    The toxicity that surrounds masculinity is actually incredibly dysfunctional because it is not solving problems that men will have, it just exacerbates those problems leading to a never-ending spiral of depression and even drug use.

    Men will use any method to control the pain they are feeling inside except the one they should be using which is to talk and discuss their feelings. Why should facing up to your problems make you any less of a man? It certainly doesn’t, but the way society expects men to behave means that until it becomes socially acceptable for men to cry and openly seek the help they need, they will not end up receiving the help that they really do need.

    Seeking help

    One of the toughest aspects men face when feeling depressed or suffering from other mental health conditions is that they literally don’t know who to turn to, to help ease their pain. Normally they are too embarrassed to go to their doctor when they actually need to be encouraged to talk to someone. Talking to the experts at can help to give you other options. For example, getting a therapy dog can help a depressed man find joy in life again.

    Help doesn’t have to involve endless group meetings, it can be anything you make of it, but admitting that you need some form of help is the first step on the journey to becoming healthy again, without any loss of masculinity.


    The only way that these stigmas and masculine toxicity can be reduced, or even banished, is by increasing awareness and education. It needs to be normal to think that having mental health issues is ok, that no matter how butch you are, having feelings is perfectly acceptable.

    Men need to understand that having mental health issues or being depressed is actually an illness and nothing to do with masculinity. No one will think less of them if they seek help. This education needs to start from the earliest ages and must progress through youth into adulthood so that future generations benefit from the breaking down of social norms that we are experiencing today.

    As we have discovered mental health and masculinity should have no place in the same sentence. Mental health refers to the state of your wellbeing, and as we know, when you feel unwell, you need help to recover from illnesses whether through prescription drugs or therapy.

    For men, perhaps the most masculine thing they can do is to ‘man up’ and admit they have a problem and seek help, for this will improve their lives and the lives of their loved ones, thereby showing that they are a real man. Educating society to understand that it is perfectly manly to cry and to have emotions is the key to ridding the world of this stigma that it is unmasculine if you have problems with your mental health.


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