Stigmatized Mental Health in Women and Men: A Comparison


Lily Zimmerman, Writer

Stigma: A negative view or belief that someone views a certain group of people. Women’s and men’s mental health is surrounded by plenty of stigmas yet they both drastically differ from each other. The varying stigmas related to each gender cannot be ignored. 

The negative stigma associated with mental health continues to destroy and derail the healing process. The shame is too great for some people to ask for the help needed. I am here to say there is no shame in getting help and we need to shift society’s viewpoint of mental health issues.

As a female, I can only understand so much about men’s mental health, but it is not a secret that men’s mental health is overlooked and undertreated time and again.  Men who openly struggle with mental health disorders are often seen as weak. Whether that perception stems from their own biases or societal ones, increasing nonjudgmental acceptance is pivotal for care.

Males are four times more likely to commit suicide than women. One of the leading causes of death in men is suicide. I cannot emphasize how it is not talked about enough. The outdated practice to instill stereotypical “toughness” in young boys only adds to the stigma. To teach that any show of emotion is a sign of weakness is an unrealistic, unfair, and harmful societal norm. Toxic masculinity keeps males from accepting their diagnosis and stops them from getting help. No one should ever have to suffer in silence. Unfortunately, in men’s mental health, this happens all too often.

As a female who struggles with mental health, I have experienced many types of stigma surrounding female mental health. This isn’t a new problem either. To this day we often hear stereotypical things such as: stop being so hysterical or are you on your period? Words like crazy and psychotic are thrown around too just for expressing our emotions. People try to excuse and blame other reasons other than mental health issues. It is easier for them to ignore the said mental health issues than it is for the person suffering from the mental health issues. If they ignore it that means it doesn’t exist but that’s just not true. 

Many strides have been made to help break the stigma of mental health surrounding all people alike. Never be afraid to share your story and your experiences. Break the cycle and be strong against the stigmas.