June is National Men’s Health Month. During this month we want to raise awareness about healthcare for men and encourage men to take care of themselves. We cannot talk about health and exclude mental health. Our mental health can impact how we address various areas of our physical health, so it is all connected.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), men in the United States on average die 5 years earlier than women and die at much higher rates. Women go to the Doctor twice as much as men. This is important because oftentimes early detection can save lives. So, this month we want to encourage men to take control of their health. Men I want you to be actively thinking about how you can take better care of yourself.
The reality is men are under so much stress, especially black men. Stress will gradually wear the body down and cause physical illness. Have you ever heard the phrase “you gone worry yourself to death”? That is not a cliché term. We can literally break our bodies down by stress and worry. Stress plays a part in up to 75-90 % of human diseases. This is not just cliché, its factual.
So today I would like to share 3 C’s to improve your mental health and wellness.
Men need to know what is happening in their bodies. Doctor visits and therapy appointments can help men to understand themselves. Symptoms of depression and anxiety may present differently for men so it’s important to be clear about what really is happening. It does not matter if you feel “fine”, regular check ups are still necessary.
Men need safe spaces to communicate without retaliation. Having a space to take off the mask and be vulnerable without judgment is vital. Oftentimes men do not have safe spaces to talk about feelings without being labeled as weak, or without having their feelings scrutinized or minimized.
Men need self-care. We talk a lot about self-care, but generally a lot of the content surrounding self-care is geared towards women. Self-care is not gender specific, and men need self-care too. It is important that we encourage the men in our lives to care for themselves as well.
Explore if the men in your life feel comfortable with caring for themselves. If they feel comfortable great. Identify what helps them feel comfortable. If they don’t, explore why not and be intentional about making necessary adjustments.
We have become so conditioned to addressing smoke instead of putting out the fire. We want to be proactive and not reactive when it comes to the health of our men.
If you are a man struggling with self-care do not be.
It’s OK to seek help. If you are wanting to support the men and boys in your life you can seek help as well. Therapy can help you get to the root of this issue.