Mental health issues in young boys and men is often neglected in our society

Boys should be allowed to talk about their feelings without being judged.

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It’s common for boys to suffer from mental health issues, but the issue does not get as much attention it seems as it does with girls. The stigma society has created is that boys shouldn’t be ‘weak’ and need to be strong, aggressive, and overall very masculine. This is a poisonous way of thinking. It should be okay for boys to talk about their feelings and they need to know that.

According to goodmenproject.com, it can be difficult for boys to talk about their mental health. Receiving treatment can also be difficult because of the stigma around it; it is viewed as non-masculine, and goes against the expected male image that is reinforced in media and society.

If you are struggling, it’s okay to ask for help. There is support to help you get through it.
Mr. Jamal Ahmelich

Society doesn’t allow boys to be vulnerable because it’s considered a weakness, and is judged. As mental health awareness increases, and everyone realizes how common mental disorders are, people will become more understanding, and the de-stigmatization will allow boys to be more open with their feelings.

Mr. Jamal Ahmelich, a counselor at Riverside Secondary, said mental health issues in boys are very common. “Often times, we don’t see it until it becomes a crisis. Boys have a stigma that’s attached to their mental health and it makes them want to appear that they’re okay. It can be harder for them to get help,” Ahmelich said.

Ahmelich said that celebrities are role models for kids. “A lot of people who are famous and powerful have gone through very difficult times, anyone can have mental health issues,” he said. According to huffingtonpost.ca, John Green is an example of a positive male role model for boys. He is the author of the popular novel (later made into a movie), The Fault in Our Stars, and is someone who encourages young men to seek out help. Green suffered from an anxiety disorder himself.

“The stigma makes it, so boys are raised in a way that they’re supposed to be aggressive and strong, not perceived as weak amongst their peers,” said Ahmelich. “It’s important for them to have someone that they trust enough to talk about it with who can help them forget the stigma that they are perceiving.”

Ahmelich said it’s all our collective responsibilities to reduce the stigma around mental health. “We need to try and help people in our community to create a society that allows boys to be open about their feelings,” he said.

“If you are struggling, it’s okay to ask for help. There is support to help you get through it,” said Ahmelich.