Taking Care of Business: Men’s Mental Health Part 1

Coral Gables Counseling Center - Wednesday, June 08, 2022
By Mirta Pont, LCSW,

I initiated a brief survey of a small sample of men regarding their views on medical and mental health issues. I was surprised to find many of the responses were positive. Although mental health can still have a stigma, men today are more comfortable when it comes to seeking therapy.

men's shoes and shirt

Boy’s caretakers set the stage for how that boy will deal with his health as a man. For example, men’s jobs and insurance benefits often dictate how often they go to the doctor. But for most men, it’s the usual once-a-year medical check-up. Unless you are a therapist, mental health is seen as a separate issue; and treatment will only be sought as a last resort.

Men have the message that they are the providers of their families and often put their medical and mental health on the back burner. It is only when the back burner issues are so big, that they cannot be ignored; and/or a loved one will force the person to get checked out. Some men say they really don’t want to hear something negative from their doctor, so they will take the ostrich approach (stick head in the sand). I think this also has to do with fear of being judged for not being able to deal if an unexpected medical issue were to be revealed.

I thought about this.

Why do women go see a doctor at a younger age than men do?

Out of necessity, not bravery.

First of all, the passage into womanhood and all the hormonal issues that it brings sends us reeling. We are soon at the doctor’s office looking for relief. Also, women of childbearing age will usually see their doctor much more frequently than men. Most women are encouraged by their mothers to take care of their bodies and get things checked out. I don’t think most men are encouraged the same.

It is not until their thirties and older that their bodies force them to deal with health issues. Stressors, such as time management between work, family life, and personal time can create or exacerbate health issues. Men can suffer from

  1. hypertension
  2. diabetes type II
  3. obesity
  4. erectile dysfunction
  5. alcohol/substance misuse
  6. anxiety; and
  7. depression

My survey revealed that many men do

  • vent with close confidants or friends;
  • share their feelings with their significant others;
  • have a variety of stress releasors such as exercise, sports, gaming, music, and hobbies.

In my next blog, I will discuss the importance of the mind-body connection and how physical manifestations of anxiety can impact men’s health.

P.S. For more on Mirta, you can visit her page at https://www.coralgablescounseling.com/team/mirta-pont-lcsw/

And, to schedule an appointment with Mirta, you can reach out to Carolina Navarro, our Intake Coordinator, at 305-445-0477.