Fighting the Mental Health Stigma in Males
- Actor and director Olivia Wilde’s latest controversial statements have raised criticism from some conservatives, and the target of her comments, Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson, says it is harmful for men suffering from mental health issues to be called “insane.”
- The fellow controversial figure used Wilde’s comments as an opportunity to address, what he thinks, is the larger issue at hand, that men suffer more repercussions than women do, which he believes is unfair.
- Women, in general, tend to be more open about mental health issues, while many men unfortunately suffer in silence.
- You can visit SurvivorNet’s extensive mental health resources, including inspiring films, here.
The Don’t Worry Darling filmmaker, 38, has shared that actor Chris Pine’s role of Frank in the film was inspired by Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson, 60, who’s been denounced and celebrated for his conservative positions on social and identity issues. Wilde didn’t hold back her thoughts on the fellow controversial public figure.Read More
Wilde’s comments about an allegedly “insane” Peterson have stirred up a debate about young men and the importance of their mental health.
In the now notorious Interview chat, Wilde (who is dating global megastar Harry Styles, who also stars in her film) went on to describe “incels” as “disenfranchised, mostly white men who believe they are entitled to sex from women.”
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During an appearance on Piers Morgan’s show, Peterson addressed how he feels about Wilde’s attack after the English host read the highly publicized comments about him from Wilde.
“Sure, why not. People have been after me for a long time because I have been speaking to young men, what a terrible thing to do,” Peterson said.
“I thought the marginalized were supposed to have a voice?,” he added, then breaking down in tears.
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The author and professor said that it’s very difficult to understand how “demoralized” people are, and heatedly said that many young men “are in that category.”
“And you get these casual insults, these ‘incels’ – what does it mean? It’s like these men, they don’t know how to make themselves attractive to women – who are very picky and good for them,” he said.
“Women, like, be picky. That’s your gift, man,” Peterson continued. “Demand high standards from your man. Fair enough. But all these men who are alienated it’s like, they’re lonesome and they don’t know what to do and everyone piles abuse on them,” he continued, urging people to consider a different perspective when it comes to males.
Despite the controversy, Peterson quipped that he was at least happy that a handsome man like Chris Pine filled his shoes, and the movie did intrigue him.
“There’s no place past that,” he concluded about Pine’s character essentially depicted as a “Super Nazi.”
“So, when Olivia Wilde made those comments, the first thing I did was go look at the preview for a movie, which I quite liked. I thought, ‘I would go see that movie probably’. And perhaps I will. It didn’t really bother me.
Men & Mental Health
Peterson, though he admits that Wilde’s comments were pretty “low level,” his retorts and focus are more on the larger issue from a psychologist’s standpoint, that men are suffering too and these types of comments and characters can be triggering and affect them as well.
Conservative host Megyn Kelly weighed in on the topic, slamming Olivia Wilde, using the opportunity to address men’s mental health.
“In 2019, men accounted for 80% of all suicide deaths in America,” the host of The Megyn Kelly Show said.
“Studies also show that a majority of American men who die by suicide have no known history of mental health problems, because they don’t talk about them.”
Regardless of whose side you’re on, we are using this “feud” to highlight an important topic. Men’s health.
Women, in general, tend to be more open about mental health issues, while many men unfortunately suffer in silence.
Addressing Mental Health in the Medical Field
So how can the mental health stigma be reduced—specifically in this case, with a male doctor?
For a long time, the culture among doctors has been to work hard and keep your head down, clinical psychologist Dr. Marianna Strongin explained in an earlier conversation with SurvivorNet, and these expectations often lead to burnout among medical professionals.
“Before Covid-19, data has shown that most physicians, almost 42%, were showing signs of burnout,” Dr. Strongin said. “The problem is that after Covid-19, we are afraid that that 42% has increased so rapidly that burnout will be so high that people will step back from the medical field altogether.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, signs of job burnout include:
- An overly cynical/critical attitude
- Trouble getting started with your day
- Lack of energy
- Difficulty concentrating
- A lack of satisfaction
- Using food, drugs, or alcohol to cope
- Disrupted sleep habits
- New headaches or stomach issues
Dr. Strongin suggests that there are several reasons this type of burnout is common among medical professionals — with one of those being how they are trained.
“One of those reasons is that in training they are programmed and taught to work very hard and almost to ignore their emotional mental state,” she said. This norm within the medical field often leads people to ignore signs from their bodies that they are fatigued and feeling burnt out, Dr. Strongin said.
What can doctors do to change the culture surrounding mental health?
A good first step is to try to get comfortable talking to colleagues about seeking help with your mental health — so that there isn’t such a stigma.
Dr. Strongin said that younger doctors who are just beginning their professional lives now are much better at paying attention to their needs and seeking mental health solutions — and with more acceptance, hopefully this can become the norm across the board.
“Our younger physicians, the residents, the interns, they are so much more open to mental health,” Dr. Strongin said. “So they talk to all their other residents the second they get into treatment and share with them that they have found a therapist, and almost the next day we’ll get four or five calls from the same class. I would love to see that happen more and more.”