Ambassador Series: Accessing Support
World Mental Health Day’s theme this year was ‘Greater Access for All’. Our Young Ambassadors have written blogs to explore challenges of reaching out for help as a young person. We’re adding to this series by exploring the impact Toxic Masculinity may have on young people accessing support.
Toxic masculinity is one of the most camouflaged reasons why some young people may feel uncertain when seeking and not wanting to get mental health support. Although support is offered out equally to all young people, boys in particular may struggle and feel as if there is a barrier preventing them from reaching out for help due to stereotypes of how men should act and feel. Stereotypes of how boys and men should act are often found through the repetition of hurtful and false claims such as ‘men don’t cry’. Significantly, boys are frequently being told to ‘man up’. These stereotypes build the false image that boys should be ‘tough’ and ‘strong’ as well as feminising emotions. These contribute to the idea that girls are sensitive, and boys are tough. Stereotypes such as these can lead to bullying in schools and within the family which may stop boys from wanting to talk to someone about their feelings.
This creates the idea it is ‘girly’ to talk about emotions or your mental health. However, this is not the case! Organisations such as ‘A Call to Men’ are beginning to lobby for the erasure of toxic masculinity. Although this is clearly not enough, awareness is starting to spread through things such as social media. You can do your part by helping to normalize boys talking about their feelings and not persisting with stereotypes which negatively impact the mental health of those around you. If we want a community where everybody can access support from mental health services, we need to normalize and create awareness for boy’s mental health.
For any boys reading this, please feel more than welcome to seek support through Dorset Mind! I would recommend looking on their website, under the ‘Help and Support’ section, where you will find helpful links and organisations which can support you. No one is truly alone during their journey to find better mental health and Dorset Mind is a supportive and inclusive community that is here to help.
Thanks to our Young Ambassador Rosie, for writing this inspiring blog.
Check back for more in this series from our Young Ambassadors soon.