While Fash Counseling treats people of all genders, including those who are non-binary, we recognize that boys and men face unique challenges when it comes to therapy. According to the American Psychological Association, women are significantly less likely than men to seek mental health support. Only 60% of men with diagnosable depression, for example, seek treatment, compared to 72% of women.
Societal gender roles can cause men to feel their mental health treatment is more stigmatized than women’s, and that showing emotion displays a lack of masculinity.
Additionally, men also face unique challenges that therapy can help with, including:
- Substance abuse. While both men and women can be afflicted by substance use disorders, they impact men and women quite differently. Men are significantly more likely to abuse alcohol than women, with approximately 1 in 5 men developing alcohol dependency in their lifetime. Additionally, although the gender gap between men and women’s use of illicit drugs is narrowing, men still use illicit drugs at higher rates than women.
- Issues related to parenting and fatherhood. While postpartum depression is most often thought of as a condition affecting women, it impacts an estimated 4 to 25 percent of men. Additionally, paternity leave remains a rarity in the United States, the lack of which can often worsen postpartum depression.
Similarly, post-divorce custody arrangements often reflect mid-1970s gendered parenting roles, even though 21st-century dads spend twice as much time caring for their children as they did 40 years ago. Not surprisingly, unfavorable custody arrangements can take a toll on men’s mental health.
- Anger. It is a myth that men become angry more often than women. In reality, men and women become angry at about the same rate. However, men are more prone to expressing their anger outwardly and in more aggressive ways. Some men also use anger to cover up other feelings of fear or shame, which can be perceived as less masculine.
- Cultural beliefs about masculinity. Although cultural beliefs about ‘manliness’ and masculinity have evolved significantly over the past several decades, these beliefs still have a significant impact on men’s mental health. Many men believe that showing emotion, or asking for help during times of hardship, are signs of weakness.
Please contact us if you or a male loved one could benefit from mental health counseling.