Breaking the Silence

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Breaking the Silence

Men’s Mental Health and the Stigma of “Man Up”

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In the hushed corners of our collective consciousness, there exists a narrative that has long shrouded men’s mental health in shadows: the ubiquitous exhortation to “man up.” The terms say “Mard Baan” or very popular phrase by a character in an Indian movie “ Mard ko dard nau hota” have stigmatised men’s mental health. From childhood, boys are often instructed to suppress vulnerability and emotions, contributing to the prevailing stigma that surrounds men’s mental well-being. In this exploration, we unveil the layers of this stigma, dissecting the impact it has on men and the burgeoning movement to redefine masculinity and destigmatize the struggles that lie beneath the surface.

The Burden of "Man Up(Mard Baan)":

“Be a man.” Three words that echo through generations, shaping the very essence of masculinity. From scraped knees to shattered dreams, boys are conditioned to mask pain, to bury fears, and to silence tears. The insidious mantra of “man up” carries a weight that extends far beyond its brevity—it becomes a commandment dictating the emotional landscape of men.

This societal pressure to conform to stoicism, to exhibit unyielding strength even in the face of adversity, has profound consequences for men’s mental health. Beneath the veneer of toughness, a tumultuous sea of emotions often goes unexplored, leaving men adrift in the struggle to reconcile societal expectations with the undeniable realities of their internal battles.

Unpacking the Stigma:

The stigma surrounding men’s mental health is a complex tapestry woven from threads of antiquated gender norms, societal expectations, and a reluctance to embrace vulnerability. The notion that expressing emotions equates to weakness has created a culture of silence, where men grapple with their mental health in isolation, fearing judgment and ridicule.

This stigma manifests in various ways, from subtle dismissals of emotional struggles to outright denial of the validity of men’s mental health concerns. The consequence is a pervasive sense of shame that inhibits men from seeking the support they desperately need. The fear of being perceived as “weak” or “less of a man” becomes a formidable barrier, trapping men in a cycle of suffering in silence.

The Toll on Men's Mental Health:

The toll of the “man up” culture on men’s mental health is staggering. Research indicates that men are less likely to seek help for mental health issues than their female counterparts. The reluctance to open up about struggles, combined with societal expectations to shoulder burdens independently, can lead to a myriad of mental health challenges, including anxiety, depression, and, tragically, a higher risk of suicide.

By perpetuating the myth that vulnerability is synonymous with weakness, society denies men the opportunity to engage in the healing power of authentic connection. The emotional isolation that ensues can have profound effects on relationships, hindering the ability to form deep, meaningful connections and perpetuating cycles of emotional estrangement.

The prevailing notion that men encounter, often expressed through phrases like “Why cry like a girl?” or “Don’t shed tears like a woman,” has ingrained in them the belief that displaying vulnerability is synonymous with weakness. These societal expectations have woven a narrative suggesting that expressing one’s true emotions, akin to how girls are encouraged to do, is somehow a diminishment of a man’s strength and resilience.

The Revolution: Redefining Masculinity:

In recent years, a quiet revolution has been brewing—a collective realization that the traditional narrative of masculinity is outdated and detrimental. Men and advocates alike are challenging the status quo, advocating for a more inclusive and compassionate definition of masculinity that allows for the full spectrum of human emotion.

Prominent figures, from celebrities to athletes, are breaking their silence on mental health, shattering the illusion that strength lies solely in stoicism. These courageous voices are reshaping the narrative, encouraging men to embrace vulnerability as a source of strength rather than succumbing to the stifling expectations of “man up.”

Destigmatizing Men's Mental Health:

To destigmatize men’s mental health, a multifaceted approach is imperative. Education plays a pivotal role—dispelling myths, fostering open conversations, and emphasizing that seeking help is a sign of strength. Initiatives that encourage mental health awareness in schools, workplaces, and communities can contribute to dismantling the entrenched stigma.

Cultural shifts also necessitate dismantling toxic masculinity, replacing it with a more nuanced and empathetic understanding of what it means to be a man. This involves challenging harmful stereotypes and creating spaces where men feel empowered to express themselves authentically without fear of judgment.

Encouraging Vulnerability:

Encouraging vulnerability is not about dismantling strength but redefining it. Men can find strength in acknowledging their struggles, seeking support, and fostering connections that transcend the constraints of traditional masculinity. By normalizing emotional expression, we pave the way for a future where men can navigate their mental health without the suffocating weight of societal expectations. That is why it’s imperative to have closed groups for men to express themselves without any judgement or reaction. 


The journey to destigmatize men’s mental health and redefine masculinity is an ongoing process, one that requires collective effort, compassion, and a revaluation of ingrained societal norms. Breaking free from the chains of “man up” is not a surrender of strength but a reclaiming of authenticity—a testament to the resilience and courage inherent in every man’s journey. As the narrative shifts, we can collectively create a world where men are not confined by outdated expectations, but instead, are free to explore the boundless spectrum of their emotions, finding strength in vulnerability and camaraderie in shared humanity. 

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