California; Hayward — Mental health awareness is huge for so many people. It's a big component of the progress within communities that have been denied access to therapy and psychiatric care for so long. In 2021, suicide had been attempted by 1.7 million Americans according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Nearly 3% of these attempts resulted in death. While the ratio is considerably small, it is not insignificant.
When looking at the rates between groups of people, men were nearly four times more likely to die from suicide than women. This statistic passes many people by and it is indicative of men seeking help less than women. According to Statista, only 12% of men in the U.S. sought therapy in 2021. There is a clear lack of influence for men to receive help with their emotions.
Recent college graduate and behavioral therapist in training Javier Romero* talked about his experience and perspective as a psychology student regarding men's mental health.
"It is so sad to see the gap between women and men with their mental health," Romero said. "I feel like so many guys go through the lowest of lows and not many people can see it."
“Learning about people’s emotions over the years and how suppressed they feel in the world is a sign of our society failing us in many ways. It often starts early with children and carries over into adulthood if it isn’t checked or managed”, the young therapist to-be said.
The 20-year old weighed in on the suicide rates. "I'm shocked but I'm also not, because guys aren't expected to open up. They're discouraged from expressing vulnerability. It has to change."
Romero felt like men were overlooked in mental health.
“It’s a cultural issue that stems from men being told that vulnerability is weakness”, he voiced. “I’ve met with guys who go to therapy and they come out knowing themselves much better. They actually navigate their feelings in a productive manner.”
In times where mental health resources are becoming more abundant, we should encourage everyone in our circles to check in with their mental health. Being open with feelings is a sign of strength and willingness to grow.
*Name was changed for privacy concerns
Noumaan Faiz, (he/him) is a journalist and entertainer from Hayward, CA who covers culture and entertainment.
Edited by Nykeya Woods