Now that I have your attention men, if you are not already aware, mental health issues are relatively common. Mental health issues include anxiety, depression, trauma, substance abuse and strained relationships. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experiences mental illness each year, a significant percentage are men.
With so many men experiencing mental health issues, why aren’t more of them seeking counseling? The answer is simple: because they are reluctant to seek help. As a father I stress to my children to ‘work smarter, not harder’. When it comes to addressing mental health issues, many men are ‘working harder’.
Men are viewed as the problem solvers, if something is broken, they are often called on to fix it. If you need to remove a screw, you don’t use a hammer. If you need to drive a nail, you don’t use a screwdriver. However, we have all known people, not only men, who use the wrong tools to address life’s problems. Expanding our ‘toolbox’ to include counseling when experiencing mental health issues just makes sense.
Men are supposed to be strong and independent providers. In order to best help others, you need to also take care of yourself. Getting help by utilizing counseling is a sign of strength, not weakness.
Often, we continue to repeat the same actions despite the negative results. What we do know is that if you want something to change, you need to take action (counseling) to make it happen. The best time to seek counseling is before you are in crisis, don’t wait!
I encourage you to take an honest look at your situation and if it makes sense to get some assistance through counseling, ‘man up’ and make the call. – Kevin Condon, LCSW