Over half of Canada’s young men say they are reluctant to talk about their feelings for fear of being seen as less masculine, according to new report released this week by men’s health charity Movember.
According to the findings, released to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week, 59 per cent of men surveyed said they feel society expects them to be “emotionally strong and not show weakness.”
Thirty-seven per cent said they won’t talk to others about how they feel to avoid appearing “unmanly,” despite 80 per cent reporting that they believe talking is an effective way to deal with problems.
Movember said in a news release Thursday that the survey findings come at a critical time for men’s health, particularly men’s mental health. Globally, three out of four suicides are men and it remains the biggest cause of death for men under the age of 44.
“Although we’ve made great strides in raising awareness of the challenges in men’s mental health and the importance of speaking up especially when you’re struggling, it is worrying that Canada’s young men are still feeling under pressure to conform to age-old, masculine stereotypes that stop them from talking about the things that keep them up at night,” said Brendan Maher, Movember’s global mental health director.
“We know that bottling up your feelings isn’t the best way of dealing with mental health challenges so we need to continue tackling these outdated ideas which are harming men.”
The survey polled 4,000 adult men between 18 and 75 years old, and also suggests that the pressures to behave in a masculine way are felt strongest by the younger crowd – a feeling reported by 44 per cent of men aged 18 to 34 compared to 16 per cent of men older than 55.
“Being seen as emotionally strong or stoic isn’t necessarily a bad thing – there’s a time and a place for it,” Maher said. “But if the pressure to uphold this facade means that men can’t talk about their problems, then that can have a really negative impact on their mental wellbeing.”
Launched in 2003, the annual Movember campaign begins Nov. 1, best known for encouraging men to grow moustaches during the month of November to raise funds for men’s health.