A Rant on Mental Health

In the last decade, mental health has become a topic of importance amongst young people. Especially in university, due to the stress and the overwhelming amount of work, it’s not uncommon for students to experience mental health issues. Before university, I knew maybe three or four people who had experiences with mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia. It was seen as something negative and seeing a therapist was something to be ashamed of, however, when entering first year, I was shocked by how many people had an experience with mental health. I think what shows the significant influence that mental health has on university students, is my experience in first year residence, where I lived in a hallway with four girls and three boys. Three out of the four girls on the floor, including myself, had some form of mental health issue, such as anxiety. 

                                                                             Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

I found it quite remarkable the number of people who had experienced similar things that I had, and that I could talk to them about it. What I found interesting about the people living in my hallway was that none of the boys had any form of mental health issue, or none of them said anything about it. I thought that maybe they just don’t experience any form of mental illness, or they’re just not comfortable talking about it. Many universities, such as Queen’s University, prides itself on the mental health services available for students, however, many men are still suffering in silence. But why?

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Another great Her Campus article by Amanda Neves is about toxic masculinity and how it affects men, as this is a tremendous aspect of why men don’t feel welcome in talking about their mental health. As an example, a friend of mine is on a varsity team and he has dealt with mental health for the past few years, specifically depression. His mental health has recently become much worse, as work started to pile up and university life became hectic. Depression can overcome someone’s life and can make it difficult for individuals to keep up with everyday tasks, however, he hasn’t yet told his coaches or his teammates nor has he told his closest friends. Keeping quiet isn’t the fault of the men suffering, though society makes it seem almost impossible for men to speak out about their experiences. I also think that there’s a feminine aspect regarding mental health because many people who are advocates of mental health are women, many therapists are women and many people who speak out about their mental health are women. 

So, going back to the three boys who lived on my floor in residence, it’s very likely that they experienced mental health issues but didn’t feel safe enough to talk about it. This idea of mental health being feminine and not welcoming to men is something embedded in society that’s hard to reverse. I believe that universities need to provide more male representation in their mental health services. If nothing is done to help men feel safe when speaking out about their experiences with mental health, half of society may be suffering in silence. End of rant.

                                                                           Photo Courtesy of Unsplash