The ideals of toxic masculinity have caused men to become emotionally repressed, and their mental health suffers as a result. While mental health for all demographics should be taken seriously, the mental health field should introduce new approaches so men feel more comfortable reaching out for support.
Toxic masculinity is a negative set of behaviors associated with manliness that is damaging to society as a whole. Some observed behaviors include sexism, homophobia and emotional "toughness."
This distorted idea of masculinity has instilled the "boys don't cry" mentality in countless generations of men. Toxic masculinity has mandated that men should hide their emotions and view themselves as weak whenever they express their feelings. Behaviors like this have caused men to become emotionally repressed, negatively affecting their mental health declines.
This outdated mentality has greatly impacted the quality of men's lives and those around them. Studies have shown that men with difficulty expressing their emotions are prone to developing substance abuse disorders, weakened immune systems and depressive symptoms. Therefore, society must make efforts to destigmatize mental health issues and encourage men to seek professional help.
The American Psychological Association (APA) has established guidelines for psychologists working with girls and women, ethnic minorities, older adults and sexually diverse clients. Yet, there are no guidelines for psychologists working with men.
Psychologists must perform more research to improve clinical practices and settings. Doing so would allow men to be better integrated and receive the mental health services they require. In addition, initiatives to promote men's mental well-being outside of the clinical setting can also be introduced.
For example, media can change how masculinity is portrayed in real life and entertainment. Supportive and inclusive media introduces new values to reinforce positive masculinity.
Additionally, men must stop de-legitimizing women's emotions and acknowledge that all people, no matter what sex or gender, experience mental health issues.
Many believe emotions are feminine, whereas emotions are a part of human nature, regardless of sex or gender. To dismantle toxic masculinity and support men's mental health, people must uplift each other and work together to live happier and healthier lives. Only through cooperation and understanding can we grow and thrive as human beings.