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International Men’s Day Tweets Prove Why We Need To Talk About Men’s Mental Health

Men's issues are often overlooked.

11/20/2017 12:42 EST | Updated 11/20/2017 12:42 EST
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Social media has been an important tool for ending the stigma around mental health. With hashtags such as #HereForYou and calls to action like the #InsideOutChallenge, there has never been more support or awareness for those who live with mental illness.

That's why on International Men's Day on Nov. 19, the internet decided to continue the conversation by calling attention to men's mental health, which is often overlooked by the media and those close to those living with a mental illness.

Using the hashtag #InternationalMensDay, many users shed light on the alarming statistics of men's mental health. In Canada specifically, one in 10 men will experience major depression in their lifetime and men are four times more likely to die by suicide than women. That's why it's never been more important to encourage men to open up.

However, in the tweets, many also noted that the biggest barrier to doing this is breaking down society's idea of masculinity, which considers emotional men to be less than. Because of this gender stereotype, harmful phrases such as "Be a man" and "Don't act like a girl" have become common and perpetuate the idea that men shouldn't have emotions.

Social psychologist Ilan Shrira, of Chicago's Lake Forest College, noted in Psychology Today that this gender stereotype can cause men to feel ashamed of their emotions, which can also be dangerous.

"To succeed in hiding your feelings from others also requires hiding them from yourself, either by ignoring or denying their existence," Shrira wrote. "As a result, masculinity often means not being comfortable with your emotions and having less self-awareness about your own mental functioning."

The correlation between suppressing emotions and bad mental health is clear, which is why many Twitter users also shared messages of support to remind men that both they and their feelings are valid.

Despite the number of studies that prove social media is bad for your mental health, a 2017 study conducted by Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation found that it can actually help people with mental health issues.

According to the survey, which included more than 3,000 people between the ages of 18 and 24, 84 per cent of young people use social media to connect with others facing similar struggles, and 77 per cent used the platforms to find personal stories and advice.

It's nice to know that mental health campaigns such as the one on #InternationalMensDay do make a difference.

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