Janelle de Souza
Counselor psychologist Sule Joseph says that some people do not believe that men need recognition, they believe that we live in a patriarchal society, and men were already leaders and prominent figures of the world.
However, he said that he recognizes the days that celebrate men, such as International Men’s Day on November 19 every year, he spoke to the emotions, especially at this time when people expect that men are more in touch with their feelings.
International Men’s Day, which was inaugurated in 1999 by Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh of TT, is a more recent addition to the list of international days of recognition.
According to the Awareness Days website, the day “celebrates the positive contributions and achievements of men while addressing important issues affecting men’s health, well-being and gender equality.”
Joseph stressed that the international days were important because they were days of recognition and the recognition was about emotions. So when people didn’t take the day seriously, they said men didn’t need that emotional support, perpetuating the misconception that men were divorced from their emotional side.
“We recognized that there are other groups that needed support and recognition, and we supported them and they continue to grow. But I think it has become a situation that, not deliberately, to try to support other groups, we have indirectly pushed them away from the support of men and men.
“The psychology of the population is that men are big and strong, and they do not need what, indirectly, feeds into the same concept of toxic masculinity, which they do not agree, of what a man should being – someone who is strong, who has no feelings or need for emotional support or recognition from others.”
He said that if society tried to get men to accept and care for their emotional side, society must recognize and recognize the contribution that men have made.
He gave the example of Mother’s Day vs. Father’s Day and the effort people put into celebration. That effort, or lack of it, suggested that men would do what they had to do without recognition, because that was what men had to do.
He said that no one asked if the men were afraid of mice or cockroaches, but that they were expected to be the ones who would kill the creatures if they entered the house.
He believed that it was necessary to remove gender associations with emotions. He said that emotions do not belong only to women and that everyone feels good to be recognized. He added that some men were too emotional and, because they were never taught to deal with their emotions, they masked it with anger.
“I think that not recognizing the emotional side of men does gender relations a great disservice and sets us back many years.”
Joseph noted that, internationally, men were twice as likely to act alone on suicidal ideation and less likely than women to seek help. As a result, he personally had not seen many men in his practice. However, he had seen a few boys with suicidal ideation over the years and their motivation was the feeling that they could not meet the expectations of society.
He said, in general, men were expected to be successful and to provide for their families. They felt pressure to look, dress and act in certain ways. And with the concept of masculinity becoming more fluid, some young men are finding it difficult to navigate.
“For guys now, even more than in the past, when you have a natural desire or drive to be competitive, or to be ‘alpha’ and high functioning, and people tell you that level of functioning is ‘toxic,’ then you might consider who you are to be problematic.
“I can see where that kind of conflict could cause depressive issues, especially where you have men now questioning whether functioning in a way that they thought was manly is now unhealthy.”
He said that society demanded much more from men with less recognition of their efforts and was stressful both emotionally and cognitively.
Counseling psychologist Nicholas Voisin agrees that modern expectations of masculinity could be confusing.
He said the boys were not encouraged to talk about their feelings. What they needed was the support of boys their age and emotionally mature men.
He said, as is naturally done between women and girls, boys needed to describe their feelings to adult males who would listen and give advice. They needed to learn more words to express what they were feeling so they could identify the emotion and figure out what to do with it.
He added that boys needed mature and healthy men to emulate, even if he wasn’t always in their lives. It could be a teacher, coach, priest, or any other emotionally healthy person.
He said that the idea of personality or “toxic” attributes could be applied to anything, even behaviors that could be considered innately positive.
“It’s the concept of taking the traits to an extreme where it’s not healthy for those who use it and for those around you. So toxic masculinity is a version of masculinity that doesn’t support or encourage well-being or good mental health of the men who employed him.
“It’s a hard and fast thing with very rigid rules about what men can and cannot do, and these rules fly in the face of what men really need. And it becomes quite unhealthy and destructive, not only for man, but for the people with whom man engages.
While there were exceptions to every rule, in general, Voisin gave some characteristics of healthy masculinity.
He said as the head of a family, men should not be dictatorial, but to listen and consider the feelings and ideas of others. He said that they should testify without judgment and be encouraged rather than demoralizing or dismissive; create a safe space for your partner and children to be themselves; leading, supporting and encouraging people; and be comfortable with being vulnerable with your partner and children so you can see that they have feelings beyond anger.
He said that these types of traits were learned. A man could not just see what they do not want to be and not be. They always need an example of what to do, which is why boys, and men, need a mature, emotionally healthy man as a model.
He said that women today say they want men to be more in touch with their emotions, but when a man expressed these emotions, often the woman’s response was to scold him or tell him how she felt, doing for her and he had to be. deal with their feelings too. And that had to stop.
Voisin said that depression was the most common factor in suicidal ideation in men, caused by feelings of helplessness, exhaustion or futility due to a breakup of a relationship, financial problems, the death of a loved one and other emotional problems.
“So there is ubiquitous depression without any specific input because men generally do not take care of their mental health. Even in the structures of society, men do not have the same kind of opportunity to commit resources for their health mental than women.
According to a 2021 WHO report, internationally, men were twice as likely to die by suicide at 12.6 per 100,000 men versus 5.4 per 100,000 women.
In TT, 561 deaths by suicide were recorded from January 2018 to March 2023.
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