In western culture, men are expected to be stoic providers—individuals who are valued for what they offer society, first and foremost. They have also been traditionally valued based on their physical strength and mental toughness, without a tendency to show softer emotions.
Although recent years have seen this outdated perspective begin to change, men’s mental health concerns have often been ignored and stigmatized. Thankfully, each June is a time to recognize and celebrate Men’s Health Month, an observance that doesn’t aim to take away any of these traditional character traits that we value in men—but to simply acknowledge that men are humans who will experience mental and physical health concerns at times.
This observance is also commonly referred to as Men’s Mental Health Month, as we and other organizations place emphasis on the importance of acknowledging mental wellbeing as an essential part of men’s general health.
Men may sometimes struggle and experience many of the same conditions and states of mind that women and other individuals face. An important part of Men’s Mental Health Month isn’t to “normalize” weakness, but to support and confirm the fact that having a mental health condition or issue isn’t a sign of weakness at all. It’s just normal.
What Month Is Men’s Mental Health Month?
Men’s Mental Health Month, observed in June, serves to shed light on the mental health struggles faced by men, dismantle deeply-ingrained societal stigmas and encourage open conversations about men’s mental well-being, as well.
This observance promotes awareness, education, and support for men dealing with various mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, and suicide. Men’s Mental Health Month provides an opportunity to destigmatize seeking help, highlight available resources, and foster a culture that values men’s mental health, ultimately contributing to overall wellness and improved quality of life for men everywhere.
When Did Men's Mental Health Month Start?
Men’s Health Month, also known as Men’s Mental Health Month (as mentioned before), has been an official holiday since 1994, where it was first known as National Men’s Health Week. Then-President Clinton signed the observance into effect.
While the early history of Men’s Mental Health Month is not otherwise well-documented, it has gained prominence in recent years as part of the broader effort to address mental health issues affecting men.
Why Is There a Men's Health Month?
As stated above, Men’s Health Month is observed every year in June, with a specific focus on raising awareness about men’s health issues and encouraging men to take proactive steps to improve their well-being. The goal of this observance is to heighten awareness of preventable health problems, promote early detection and treatment of diseases, and encourage men to lead healthier lifestyles.
During Men’s Health Month, various organizations, healthcare providers, and community groups conduct health education campaigns, organize health screenings and fairs, host fitness challenges, and promote discussions on topics such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health, heart disease, and other concerns that affect men’s health.
It is important to note that while Men’s Health Month is designated as June, men’s health should be a priority throughout the year. Regular check-ups, adopting healthy habits, and seeking medical or mental health care when needed are all crucial for maintaining optimal health for men.
Why Is Men's Mental Health Month Ignored?
There are various factors that may contribute to the perception of neglect or lesser attention towards men’s mental health specifically which are listed below:
- Societal expectations: Traditional gender roles often place an emphasis on men being strong, stoic, and self-reliant, which can discourage men from seeking help or expressing their emotions. This societal expectation may contribute to a lack of awareness or conversation around men’s mental health issues.
- Stigma surrounding mental health: Mental health issues, in general, have historically carried a significant stigma, and this can affect men as well. Men may face additional challenges due to societal norms that discourage them from seeking help or expressing vulnerability. The stigma surrounding mental health can deter men from seeking support or discussing their struggles openly.
- Limited awareness and resources: There may be a lack of awareness or understanding regarding the specific mental health challenges that men face. This could result in limited resources, services, and support networks available specifically for men’s mental health. Insufficient resources can contribute to the perception that men’s mental health is being overlooked.
Lastly, many men’s health initiatives focus on other issues. Mental health awareness campaigns often cover a broad range of topics and may not always address specific mental health issues faced by men. It is important to recognize that mental health affects individuals of all genders, and efforts are being made to address mental health issues holistically.
All of that said, while there may be perceptions that Men’s Mental Health Month is ignored, it’s important to note that the awareness and understanding of mental health issues in general have been growing in recent years.
Is November Mental Health Month for Men, Too?
No, November is not specifically designated as Men’s Mental Health Month. However, it is known as “Movember” which involves raising awareness of men’s health issues. In addition, in the United States, May is recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month, during which efforts are made to increase understanding and promote conversations about mental health.
Men may face unique challenges and societal pressures that can impact their mental well-being. It is important for men to seek support, talk openly about their feelings, and access mental health services when needed, regardless of the time of year.
When Is Men's Mental Health Week?
Right now, there is no specific “Men’s Mental Health Week” designated worldwide. However, several countries observe specific weeks or months dedicated to raising awareness about men’s mental health.
In the United States, for example, June has been recognized as Men’s Mental Health Month, which includes a focus on mental health. Other countries may have different initiatives and awareness campaigns throughout the year. With that being said, mental health awareness and support should be a year-round effort for everyone, regardless of gender.
Men's Mental Health Month: 3 Essential Things to Remember
Here are three essential things to remember about Men’s Mental Health Month. This observance aims to:
- Raise awareness: Men’s Mental Health Month is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the unique mental health challenges faced by men. It aims to increase awareness about the importance of mental well-being and encourage men to seek help when needed. It is crucial to address the stigma surrounding men’s mental health and promote open conversations about emotional struggles.
- Encourage help-seeking: Men often face societal pressures to be stoic, strong, and self-reliant, which can make it challenging for them to acknowledge and seek help that could make a difference with mental health issues. Men’s Mental Health Month emphasizes the significance of reaching out for support and seeking professional help when necessary. It encourages men to prioritize self-care, emotional well-being, and to recognize that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
- Address specific issues: Men may experience mental health challenges that are influenced by various factors, including societal expectations, cultural norms, and gender roles. Men’s Mental Health Month recognizes the need for tailored approaches to address these specific issues. This includes addressing topics such as depression, anxiety, suicide prevention, addiction, and the impact of toxic masculinity on men’s mental well-being. It also highlights the importance of promoting healthy coping mechanisms and fostering supportive environments for men to thrive emotionally.
Remember, Men’s Mental Health Month is just one part of an ongoing effort to prioritize mental health for everyone. It is essential to continue the conversation and support men’s mental well-being throughout the year—not just in June.