Men don't get emotionally hurt: Addressing the taboo, fostering empathy, tips to seek emotional well-being

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
Aug 22, 2023 04:36 PM IST

Every man desires acknowledgment for his bravery and courage. Encourage men to break free from the confines of societal norms and seek emotional well-being

Men often carry emotional pain silently, adept at concealing it due to societal expectations that discourage vulnerability even among their loved ones and associate it with weakness. As fathers, husbands, sons, brothers, or grandfathers, they navigate various roles in life, caring for their loved ones while facing their own hidden hurdles.

Men don't get emotionally hurt: Addressing the taboo, fostering empathy, tips to seek emotional well-being (Image by Валентин Симеонов from Pixabay)
Men don't get emotionally hurt: Addressing the taboo, fostering empathy, tips to seek emotional well-being (Image by Валентин Симеонов from Pixabay)

Unfortunately, some men perceive seeking mental health support as something feminine, which can discourage them from reaching out for help. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Christie Saju, Counselling Psychologist at Lissun, shared, “Research reveals a troubling gender gap in mental health diagnosis and treatment, with women more likely to receive care for depression than men. This disparity contributes to the tragic reality that suicide remains a leading cause of death among men, who also exhibit higher suicidal intent. Moreover, studies indicate that men often bear more emotional anguish in the realm of relationships.”

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She asserted, “In truth, every man desires acknowledgment for his bravery and courage. It is crucial, therefore, to encourage men to break free from the confines of societal norms and seek the assistance they need. Otherwise, ignoring emotional struggles can lead to a buildup of unresolved pain, ultimately resulting in severe anxiety, depression, and far-reaching consequences in various aspects of life, such as cognitive abilities, work performance, friendships and relationships.”

The mental health expert advised, “When emotional pain becomes overwhelming, it is important to acknowledge, understand, and accept the situation and reach out for support when necessary. While opening up to trusted family and friends can be valuable, it may not always be possible or sufficient. In such cases, consulting a therapist is highly recommended. Therapists provide a safe and non-judgmental space for exploration and healing, assisting individuals in navigating their emotions and fostering personal growth.”

Christie Saju suggested, “Engaging in activities and hobbies that bring joy and fulfilment can serve as a vital outlet for pent-up emotions. For instance, physical activities like going to the gym or participating in boxing can effectively channel and release anger while allowing individuals to excel in a skill. Each person's journey towards emotional well-being may be unique, and therapists can serve as guides in this process of self-discovery and self-acceptance. Additionally, incorporating practices such as meditation and relaxation techniques into daily life can greatly enhance overall well-being. These practices create a sense of calm and balance, nurturing both the body and mind. The benefits of these mindful endeavours extend far beyond the immediate moment, positively influencing one's long-term mental and emotional health. Remember that seeking help is not a sign of giving up but rather a testament to refusing to surrender!”

Bringing his expertise to the same, Dr Gorav Gupta MD (Psychiatry) Psychiatrist and Co-Founder of Emoneeds, said, “Emotions know no gender; they are the universal language of the human experience. Men, just like women, are susceptible to emotional pain, heartbreak, and trauma. However, societal expectations have conditioned them to wear a mask of stoicism, creating an illusion of invulnerability. This expectation not only alienates men from their own emotions but also hinders their ability to build meaningful connections and maintain positive mental well-being. Simultaneously, this harmful stigma perpetuates a culture of emotional suppression and denial, depriving countless individuals of the opportunity to heal and grow.”

He concluded, “Breaking free from these rigid expectations is imperative to foster an environment that embraces emotional expression and vulnerability for everyone. By debunking the fallacy that ‘men don’t get emotionally hurt,’ we create spaces where men feel safe to share their struggles, seek solace, and find the support they need. At the same time normalizing the pursuit of professional help becomes paramount. Just as we consult medical professionals for physical ailments, it is crucial to acknowledge that emotional well-being demands specialized care. Seeking treatment from mental health experts signifies a proactive commitment to self-care, an act of strength rather than weakness.”

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