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6 Reasons Why Men Avoid Going to Therapy (When They Really Need to Go).
By Dr. Lena Pearlman & Dr. Bryan Pearlman
Data shows us that 90% of people who sought treatment for mental health related concerns reported an improvement in their symptoms and quality of life.
National statistics also show that twice as many women go to therapy than men do. In addition, the amount of time between onset of a mental health concern and seeking out treatment is also twice as long for men than women.
If we know that therapy is effective, why do men avoid going to therapy?
Below are six possible reasons that guys avoid seeking out mental health therapy.
1.) Throw Some Dirt On It & Walk It Off!
How many guys received this advice from their dad growing up? This could be in response to a sports injury, splitting up with a girlfriend or not doing well on a school project. Many guys were taught from a young age to just deal with it.
2.) Boys Don’t Cry!
“Boys Don’t Cry” was a hit song by the British band – The Cure. This is also a message that guys have been taught for generations. Expressing feelings and emotions has been reserved for females.
3.) Stay Out of Our Business!
There is a belief among many guys that health concerns, relationships, and family business are private. These are not to be shared with others.
4.) I’m Not Stopping & Asking For Directions. I Know Where I’m Going!
Many family road trips featured the drive around until we maybe get to our destination. Some guys believe that they aren’t lost and don’t need help. This pertains to driving to a vacation getaway and also struggling through stress, depression or anxiety. It can be very challenging for guys to seek out help.
5.) No Big Deal. I’m Fine!
When dealing with health or mental health related items, many guys downplay the symptoms and pain that they are feeling. To some guys, it is easier to avoid and downplay the issue than it is to admit there is something wrong and deal with it.
6.) I’m Not Singing Kumbaya, I Hate The Smell Of Essential Oils & I’m Not Laying On A Sofa Spilling My Guts To A Stranger
There is definitely a misconception about what a modern therapist’s office looks like, feels like and what goes on in the office. While most offices won’t look like a man cave or a sports bar, they do more closely resemble a combination between a doctor’s office and a comfortable meeting space.
So what do we do about this? How do we get more guys to go to therapy? What will it take for them to get the help that they need?
There have been some successful public service campaigns targeted at taking away the stigma from mental health (particularly for a male audience). Pete Wentz (from the band Fall Out Boy) shares his struggles with depression and anxiety, Brandon Marshall (NFL wide receiver) created a PSA about his diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder, and Wayne Brady (Comedian/Actor) has spoken publicly about living with depression.
More work needs to be done to get the message out to men that mental health is every bit as important in living a healthy life as physical health. This will take friends talking to friends and family talking to family. Let’s all work together to change guy’s perspective about mental health therapy.
Dr. Lena Pearlman & Associates is a mental health therapy practice in St. Louis, Missouri. The practice has a team of six licensed therapists that provide therapy and counseling services to kids, teens, adults, couples, and families. Dr. Lena Pearlman & Associates specializes in stress, anxiety, depression, relationships, and other mental health related issues and concerns. The practice can be reached by phone at: 314-942-1147, by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or on the web at: www.STLmentalhealth.com. The office is located at: 655 Craig Road, Suite 300, St. Louis, MO 63141.