Breaking the Stigma Around Men's Mental Health

Mental Health Break the StigmaMen's health is multifaceted and encompasses physical, emotional, and mental well-being. While physical health often takes center stage, it is crucial to recognize the importance of mental health in maintaining overall well-being. Mental health affects how we think, feel, and act, influencing our ability to handle stress, relate to others, and make decisions. Unfortunately, mental health issues can be particularly challenging for men due to societal expectations and stigma.

Common Mental Health Challenges

Simon Rabas, LCSW
Simon Rabas, LCSW

Men face unique mental health challenges, often influenced by cultural norms that discourage expressing vulnerability. "Men are often taught to be stoic and self-reliant, which can lead to underreporting of mental health issues and reluctance to seek help," says Simon Rabas, LCSW, who provides Behavioral Health services at Door County Medical Center Sturgeon Bay Clinic.

Some common issues include:

  1. Depression and Anxiety: These are prevalent mental health conditions that can manifest differently in men, sometimes through irritability, aggression, or substance abuse rather than sadness.

  2. Stress: Chronic stress can stem from work, family responsibilities, financial pressures, or health concerns. It can lead to physical health problems if ignored or not managed properly.

  3. Substance Abuse: Men are more likely to engage in substance abuse as a coping mechanism for underlying mental health issues.

  4. Suicide: Men and boys are statistically more likely to die by suicide, often due to untreated or undiagnosed mental health conditions.

Breaking the Stigma

Elderly man and woman talkingOne of the biggest barriers to addressing mental health in men is the stigma surrounding it. Men may feel pressured to conform to traditional notions of masculinity, which can discourage them from seeking help or expressing their emotions. It's important to remember that anyone, regardless of gender, can reinforce these conventional forms of masculinity. At Door County Medical Center, we advocate for breaking these barriers by:

  • Encouraging Open Conversations: "It's essential to create environments where men feel safe to talk about their feelings without fear of judgment," says Rabas.

  • Promoting Mental Health Education: Utilizing resources to help men and boys recognize signs of mental health issues. A great first step is Door County's mental health hub, CredibleMind. This free online platform brings together expert-vetted videos, podcasts, apps, online programs, books, and articles, as well as local resources. Visitors to the site can learn new skills, understand their mental health, take assessments, and browse a library containing thousands of mental wellbeing resources. The service is confidential and available 24/7 at no cost.

Practical Tips for Mental Well-being

Maintaining mental health requires ongoing effort and self-awareness. Here are some strategies to help men foster mental well-being:

  1. Stay Connected: Build strong relationships with family and friends. Social support is vital for mental health. JAK's Place in Sturgeon Bay is available as a walk-in social and resource center for anyone impacted by mental illness.

  2. Move Your Body: Physical activity has been proven to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week.

  3. Seek Professional Help: "Reaching out for support is a display of strength. It demonstrates self-awareness and a commitment to personal improvement," shares Rabas. If you find yourself facing difficulties, don't hesitate to connect with a mental health professional.

  4. Practice Mindfulness: Techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, and yoga can help manage stress and improve emotional regulation. Walking is also an easy way to practice mindfulness AND get your body moving!

  5. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle: Are you getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night? If not, identify what factor(s) are preventing you from getting the rest you need. Minimizing screen time, eating a balanced diet, and avoiding excessive alcohol and drug use are a great place to start.

  6. Set Realistic Goals: Break tasks into smaller, manageable steps. Achieving these goals can build confidence and a sense of accomplishment.

Our Commitment

Man talking to behavioral health specialistAt Door County Medical Center, we are dedicated to supporting the mental health of our community. We offer a range of services, including individual counseling, psychiatric services, and support groups, and we participate in community initiatives designed to promote behavioral health.

By prioritizing mental health, men can improve their quality of life, build stronger relationships, and enhance their overall well-being. Let's work together to break the stigma and create a supportive environment where every man feels empowered to take charge of his mental health.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: If you are having thoughts of suicide or hurting someone else, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call, text or online chat: 988


CredibleMind. (2022, June 13). Three steps to destigmatize men's mental health. Retrieved from

Healthline. (2023, January 10). Mental health care for men. Healthline. Retrieved from

Mental Health America. (n.d.). Infographic: Mental health for men. Mental Health America. Retrieved from

National Center for Health Statistics. (2020, August). Prevalence of depression among adults aged 20 and over: United States, 2013–2016 (Data Brief No. 398). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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