Music, Media and Men's Mental Health
Men's mental health has immensely increased in societal importance over recent years, there is more of a general understanding about the challenges that men face in everyday life and the implications of these challenges are well documented in men's mental health statistics. To understand the magnitude of the issue, it is paramount to explore some shocking statistics surrounding men's mental health.
Out of 6,859 people that died from suicide in the UK, 5185 of them were men.
4 in 5 suicides are by men.
7 in 10 who died by suicide had no history of mental illness.
Intimate relationships was a contributing factor in 62% of male suicides.
For the first time, the suicide rate for men aged 20-24 increased significantly by 39.1%.
These staggering statistics stem from the stigma that men should just “get on with it” and “just be a man”. The dysfunctional relationship with males and their mental health is immensely apparent in the statistics. The buildup of emotions in combination with patriarchal societal norms has resulted in toxic masculinity. In most cultures, the perception of archetypal manliness is defined by aggressiveness, promiscuity and stifling emotions. All these behaviours are destructive for mental health, yet they are championed by society as acceptable.
One of the main influencers for men and society as a whole is the music industry, many musicians reaffirm misogynistic ideals. Encouraging men to be aggressive, promiscuous and emotionally suppressive. Some artists have spoken up about their mental health struggles and how these may be reflected by the music industry. One of the most noticeable advocates for mental health awareness is grime artist Stormzy, the culture surrounding grime and hip hop is very braggadocious, hyper-masculine and aggressive. Stormzy has expressed the issues he’s had with depression on his rise to commercial success which shows that even fame and money cannot save you from mental illness.
Women are often the focus of social media issues and pressures to conform to stereotypical gender roles. As a result, men are often neglected when it pertains to facing pressures to fit stereotypical “masculine” gender roles. Social media is another influence that perpetuates the misinformation regarding how men should handle their mental health struggles.
Men don't often express their emotions towards sensitive subjects or reach out for help on social media without fear of being persecuted by numerous online pundits. A big topic for males is body image concerns, social media platforms like Instagram pushes an ideal look for men which is tall, muscular and lean with perfect teeth. This leaves many men who do not fit the standard immensely dissatisfied with their body image, a survey of adult men found that 28% of men felt concerned about their bodies and 11% have felt suicidal thoughts as a direct result of these feelings.
In conclusion, men's mental health is an issue not to be ignored. Men worldwide suffer with their mental health yet are more apprehensive about speaking about it. The narrative must change and men must be informed that there is help for them. Speaking up about issues that plague men about hyper-masculinity can be very difficult, especially for younger men. However, there are many resources online that provide free help for men struggling with mental health, suicide and depression.
If you need immediate help, please call the Samaritans helpline (116 123) or text SHOUT to (85258) free of charge 24/7. Also, you can contact MJK on Facebook for any support via Facebook messenger.