How to Normalise Conversation for Men’s Health.
We have been raised to think that men are powerful individuals who don’t share their problems with others. This is perhaps why we hardly have open conversations about men’s health issues. The thing is guys do want to share their emotions, even if they put a strong front. This can be seen from a data by the World Health Organisation (WHO) which stated that 75% of 800,000 suicide cases reported in 2016 involved men.
Movember is an annual global event that gets males to grow moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness for men’s cancer like prostate and testicular, as well as men’s suicide. Here are 3 ways you can follow to strike open conversations regarding men’s health.
Be Sure To Reach Out
We live in a society where it’s a disgrace for men to express their emotions, so be sure to be the person who changes this stigma. Rather than emphasising masculinity on men who are going through their own personal battle, be it health or mental issues, you should stand by them and encourage positivity.
If you know someone who is struggling to keep their emotions in check or have suicidal thoughts, reach out to him. Try to make him understand that being masculine does not mean he must be impassive. Let him know that it’s perfectly normal to feel like he is suffocated with emotions, and it is equally normal, to seek for a lending ear so he can pour out his feelings to that person. Otherwise, he can also opt to get help from support groups like the Samaritans of Thailand (02 713 6791) which provides 24/7 support for men in emotional despair. By doing so, he will not only feel like his burden has been lifted up, but also teaches him to be mindful of his emotions and be confident to know that he belongs in this world.
Sprt A Beard for The Cause
Did you know that prostate or testicular cancer can have an acute impact on a man’s sexual functions and quality of life? Given that this is a society that relates masculinity with being sexually fertile and assertive, testicular cancer can immediately rip off that belief.
However, Movember has managed to smash the idea of “toxic masculinity’ via their campaigns and projects. Movember also encourages men to grow moustache for the whole of November, in support of men going through a tough time due to cancer or thinking of committing suicide. While it’s known that not all men can grow a ‘stache, or they have a job that doesn’t allow them to have one, the whole idea is to create awareness on men’s health issue so they will be more open to share their struggle with others.
Inject Laughter in The Conversation
Given the sensitivity of men’s health issue, it’s probably best to inject humour or laughter in the conversations with those who are struggling to open up about their condition. For instance, if you’re talking about testicular cancer, refer the illness to common items like banana, brinjal or surfboard. That will not only add some laughter to the conversation, it can also help the affected individuals to discuss about their “private parts” more comfortably.
We know that “toxic masculinity” is still very much in existence to date, but movements like Movember and your personal attempts to break the concept are positively paving the path to put an end to this. Eventually this would shift the conversation style, giving more cancer-stricken or suicidal men to bravely face their personal demons.