Over the last few days social media have highlighted the case of a homeless man from Kent, who froze to death on the patio of a disused property. The coroner’s inquest stated that the man has suffered from mental health problems, such as depression, which had been exasperated by problem drinking.
Reading the report was indeed sobering, as this is one more example of a man that could have possibly been helped. We are told, traditionally, men are reluctant to seek any form of help and often have higher levels of isolation; rates of drug and alcohol misuse, furthermore, homelessness is greater for men, than women. Males are more likely to be involved in the justice system because of antisocial behaviour. Indeed, when men are jailed for there he may be incarcerated with other men who have themselves mental health problems, in fact, 90% of all male prisoners have a mental health problem(Unknown, 2015) and 70% having what is called a comorbidity, that is, having two or more mental health problems
Men often looked at as the bad boys, portrayed as perpetrators and villains, it could be said that the justice system is to focus on externalising behaviour, often exasperated by alcohol abuse, such behaviour, is often responded to harshly.
For some, it is hard to see men as vulnerable; nevertheless, men often experience physical and sexual abuse and are victims of domestic violence; although statistically, this number is small compared to women the shame of coming forward and talking about this could be something to do with the low numbers.
I society often sees being a man is a positive advantage, that maybe for some, if you’re young, wealthy, whites, middle-class, what happens if you sit outside these parameters. If you’re old; some statistics say this is over 50, black or ethnic, and not in the top bracket of earnings.
Even if you are in this advantageous group that doesn’t make you invulnerable, even this group suffers adversity and psychological difficulties such as breakdown of relationships, substance misuse, and physical elements. Men often seen as protectors, and sent, as last year’s World War One commemorations remind us, at a young age to fight war’s.
Indeed, looking at the coroner’s report regarding this individual, we find out that he too had a family and people who loved him, but somehow fell through the net.
So where is all this leading, having a more empathic understanding of male mental health problems men can experience, should be paramount. It would take a generation to change this, but it could be changed.
Unknown. (2015). Mental health statistics: prison. Retrieved 2nd January 2015, 2015, from http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/help-information/mental-health-statistics/prisons/