The Importance of Men’s Mental Health Support and How to Get it


Mental health issues affect people of all genders, but research shows that men are less likely to seek support than women. Stigma, lack of awareness, and traditional masculinity norms often prevent men from opening up about their struggles and getting the help they need. However, supporting men’s mental health is crucial for individual wellbeing and public health. This article will discuss why men’s mental health support matters, barriers to getting support, how to access services, and things loved ones can do to help the men in their lives.

Why Men’s Mental Health Support Matters?

Mental health challenges like depression, anxiety, addiction, and suicidal thoughts do not discriminate based on gender. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, over 46 million American men experience a mental illness each year. Untreated mental health conditions in men are associated with serious consequences like substance abuse, loss of productivity at work, relationship problems, and suicide.

Per the CDC, men account for over 75% of suicide deaths in the U.S. each year. Therefore, providing adequate mental health support resources for men is literally a matter of life and death. Beyond crisis situations, supporting men’s day-to-day mental health creates benefits for families, communities, and society through:

  • Healthier, more fulfilling relationships
  • Increased work performance and career success
  • Reduced risk-taking behaviors and violence
  • Overall improved quality of life

Barriers to Men Seeking Mental Health Support

Even though mental health challenges are common among men, few seek help. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), just over 30% of men with mental illness receive treatment each year compared to over 40% of women.

Why the discrepancy? Outdated masculine norms tell men to “man up” instead of showing vulnerability. Some key barriers that keep men from getting mental health support include:

  • Stigma around mental illness – Seen as weakness, “unmanly”
  • Lack of mental health awareness/education
  • Tendency to self-medicate with drugs/alcohol
  • Avoiding vulnerability out of fear, distrust
  • Difficulty identifying symptoms, emotions
  • Lack of support systems, isolation

How Men Can Access Mental Health Support

While substantial barriers exist, men can and should seek assistance for mental health concerns. Here are some ways for men to get the help they need:

Talk to Your Primary Care Provider – A doctor can screen for mental illness, provide therapy referrals, and prescribe medications. Be open about symptoms.

Find a Therapist – Look for a licensed counselor or psychologist, ideally one specializing in men’s mental health. Consider virtual sessions.

Join a Support Group – Sharing with others facing similar struggles can help you feel less alone. Search for groups focused on your specific condition.

Call a Hotline – When in crisis, hotlines provide 24/7 anonymous counseling by phone or text. Examples: 1-800-273-TALK and Crisis Text Line.

Try Self-care Strategies – Healthy habits like exercise, meditation, journaling, and social connection can aid mental wellbeing. Implement routines.

Lean on Loved Ones – Friends and family often want to help but don’t know how. Explicitly ask for what you need, like an ear to listen.

How Loved Ones Can Support the Men in Their Lives

Since men face societal pressure to remain “tough,” loved ones play a key role in getting men to open up and access mental health treatment. Here are some tips for supporting the men in your life:

  • Check in sincerely and listen without judgement
  • Encourage vulnerability by sharing your own feelings
  • Ask directly about suicidal thoughts if concerned
  • Recommend and assist with making therapy appointments
  • Remind them a mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of
  • Provide resources and information to read on their own
  • Initiate open conversations about mental health
  • Make concrete offers of help like car rides and meal prep
  • Give reassurance without dismissing their problems
  • Set healthy boundaries if the relationship becomes one-sided

With compassion, patience, and some extra support, men can overcome internal and external barriers to access mental healthcare. Providing adequate treatment resources and social support makes a huge difference in improving mental health outcomes for men, resulting in positive impacts across our society. It starts with each of us taking small steps to break the stigma.


Men face unique barriers to seeking mental health support, but getting treatment is critical for their wellbeing and our public health. Challenging traditional masculine norms, increasing awareness, and creating a safe space for vulnerability allows men to access the resources they need. With a holistic approach of professional treatment, self-care practices, strong support systems and open conversations, men can experience hope, healing and full lives despite mental health conditions.

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