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  • Mental Health Awareness

Stigma behind gender

Updated: Apr 11, 2019

As the times are changing, more people are opting not to conform to society's norms, this includes traditional gender roles. But this still doesn't erase the stigma that certain groups face regarding their mental health.

There are not prominent sex differences in mental health disorders, there are however significant differences in the patterns and symptoms of the disorders that will vary across age groups. In girls, they may be more likely to experience depression and eating disorders, so may attempt suicide for than boys. Boys tend to experience for problems with anger, engage in high-risk behaviours and commit suicide more frequently than girls.

In adulthood, women are more likely to experience depression and anxiety, whilst substance use disorders and antisocial behaviours are higher in men. For more severe mental disorders - such as schizophrenia and bi-polar depression - there are no consistent sex differences, but men typically have an earlier onset of schizophrenia, while women are more likely to exhibit serious forms of bipolar depression (World Health Organisation). These symptoms are not the same for all cases, because of course there will be men who experience eating disorders and women who suffer from substance abuse; every individual is different and should not be generalised.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, around 1 in 8 men have a common mental health problem. Unfortunately, men may be reluctant to seek support for their mental health or disclose mental health problems to loved ones. Although gender roles are changing more and more and not conforming to societal norms, men and women are still expected to behave in certain ways, which may play a role in mental health.

For men, society deems them to portray 'masculine' traits, such as strength, dominance and control. Although feelings and talking about feelings are not negative things, research does suggests that a reliance on these traditional ideals of what it means to be a 'man' may negatively impact men's mental health.

Various social factors put women at greater risk of poor mental health than men. However, women's readiness to talk about their feelings and their strong social networks can help protect their mental health.

It's time to move with the times and put behind the traditional roles implemented by society and make it known that it's okay, not to be okay.

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