'Men willing to discuss mental health issues'

'Men willing to discuss mental health issues'

Men are more willing to discuss mental health issues than women and are open to seeking help from trained counsellors and psychiatrists, claim clinical psychologists working with a mental health helpline in Delhi.

According to the helpline, 70 per cent calls are made by men while females account for 30 per cent of the calls received from across the country. However, the experts also pointed that it will be wrong to conclude that women are secretive about issues related to mental health.

“Females can easily talk to their friends and are much more open in sharing their feelings with family members. They have a better support system when it comes to dealing with emotional issues,” said Tanvi John, a trained counsellor at the Delhi Mental Health Helpline.

On the other hand, John suggests that males do not easily share their feelings with their friends, colleagues and family members as they are supposed to abide by the notion of being emotionally strong.

“A telephonic helpline provides them anonymity and that is why they find it easier to discuss their issues,” she adds.

Dr Zaki Shah, another clinical psychologist at the helpline, echoed similar views but added that media plays an important role in perpetuating this myth of masculinity.

“Be a man; do not cry like a girl and Mard ko Dard Nahi Hota (a man does not suffer pain) slogans are reinforced in films and TV serials which form these notions,” he said.
Dr Shah added that films tend to portray people with mental illness as dangerous and violent.

“Ironically, films and television have used mental illness to add drama to their productions, little realising the fact that they are stigmatising persons with mental illness. We cannot generalise as even a normal person can be dangerous,” he said.

Experts highlight that both genders have similar problems such as work-related stress,
 relationship issues, loneliness, domestic violence, child and adolescent problems, depression and marital problems.

The helpline, inaugurated by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in October last year,
is a collaborative effort of the Vandrevala Foundation, Emmanuel Hospital Association, St Stephen’s Hospital and the Mar Thoma Church.

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