Men, Masculinity, and Conformity to Masculine Norms
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This research paper highlights some of the critical issues contributing to the overall decline in men’s mental health and how masculine norms influence men’s help-seeking behaviours. Key areas explored regarding men’s mental health are a high incidence of male suicidality, the perplexing nature of depression, issues of alcohol and drug use, and lack of effective coping strategies. Some of the most prevalent issues related to stigma are feelings of separation, self-stigma effects, and gender identities. The complexities of men’s mental health occur on both a personal and societal levels and require a multi-pronged approach. Men’s needs are unique from other populations, but what is common amongst most men is their unwillingness and resistance to seeking help and support. Implications for counselling men in various contexts are explored to determine how to improve engagement in the hopes of improving therapeutic outcomes. While progress continues to be made in the areas of men’s mental health, men remain vulnerable, and we must ensure that we are meeting their needs. Overall, there is a lack of resources for men in accessing supports, and there is no specific training or evidence-based practice for counsellors that are tailored to the unique needs of men.