A Mental Health Moment
By Bernadette Joy Graham, MA, LPCC, CCHt, Licensed Mental Health Therapist
The Truth Contributor
Society has deemed women more emotional than men for centuries. It caused women to be blocked from participating in many fields of practice such as law, medicine, and certainly politics. Women have stood the test of time and have displayed their abilities in all fields regardless of the make-up of their uterus and hormone deficiencies as many men find as humorous.
By now women have proven their strong presence of intelligence, wisdom and the ability to carry and deliver a child and care for that child as they return to their professions as doctors, professors, politicians, lawyers and many more from which they were previously banned.
So, are women more emotional than men? I decided long ago not to practice or specialize in family, couples or marriage counseling. Not that I did not feel it was needed but personally families and relationships are a bit complicated, ok too complicated, because there is always more than one side to a story. In practice back in graduate school, it felt as if the therapist had to pick a side…”.should I leave my husband, should I tell my wife I cheated, or my parents are fighting all the time and I feel responsible.” Just after one role play in class, I thought long and hard about the effects of this aftermath on people’s lives.
I specialize in individual counseling for those 13 and older yet I still get calls and emails asking for family or couples counseling. It is especially hard to say no to a client I have already been treating whom comes to a place in their life where they feel couples counseling would help and I refer, refer, refer. Why? Well first off it is not in my scope of practice and secondly, whether man or woman I always get asked the question do you think they still love me? Or the big one? “Why do men seem like they don’t even care after you break-up?”
I answer none of these questions in session and I certainly will not answer them on this platform but, realistically, as a human being feelings are expressed as emotions and be it man or woman they will be expressed; now exactly how, I do not know. In theory, we see it in movies and even social media, the man just seems to disappear and move on with his life and the woman breaks into pieces, loses her mind, no her “damn” mind, and takes more time to recover than the man.
In an article published on psychnet.com, the author suggest that men really feel more pain than women. His evidence is posed from a team of researchers at the University of British Columbia whom conducted a study examining the ways men dealt with mental health at the end of a relationship. “The study included 47 men, 26 of them had separated or divorced and 33 were single during the study.” The subjects’ partners had initiated about half of the breakups.
The results showed that men did not do well emotionally due to break-ups. As part of the study, the men filled out a depression tool that screens for depression. More than half showed mild to moderate depression, and of those subjects, about half stated they had experienced thoughts of suicide in the prior two weeks. “This is concerning because, according to the study’s authors, divorced men are eight times more likely to die by suicide than divorced women.”
Society does not give men the same space as women to express depressed emotions. As women, we can cry at will in the grocery store, have a girls night out, and eat ice cream with friends for a healing process. Behaviors that men are unable to carry out due to the expectations of their manhood. Instead, men may be seen to have a series of meaningless flings, further harm themselves by frequenting bars and drinking alcohol as they live on the male privilege that “everyone must have seen it was her not me who was wrong.”
Ladies, if this is what you have been wondering, remember, this is just one study, but take a look for yourself at other studies and social media. Many of my male clients have expressed very distressing feelings and depression during and after a break-up. Regardless of whom feels what more than the next, suicide is never the answer. All of us have heard supposedly helpful thoughts from friends and family such as, “don’t worry there’s someone else better waiting for you,” or “you deserve better,” and lastly, “there are a lot of others out there whom would appreciate you better.” Take a mental health moment and think about a past or current heartbreak.”
We have all been there at least once and honestly once is enough, anymore can be devastating. If you are having difficulty with how you are feeling due to a break-up, seek some professional help (both men and women). Not saying that your good meaning friends and family are wrong but pain is pain and matters of the heart are just that ……of the heart, not the gender of the beating and hurting heart.
As April is Minority Health Month, utilize this time to discover or rediscover the disposition of your health, be it physical, mental, emotional or even spiritual. The gaps and sometimes lack of quality of care for minorities still exist but more programs and funding are being increased and will continue to increase while minorities utilize those services. Minorities have suffered from broken hearts not just in the ethereal sense but physically by increased heart disease and much more that take our lives at an increasing rate. While every month should focus on minority health care, it is up to us to fill those gaps and participate in care that is needed and offered so we can raise the bar in ensuring the world must acknowledge we have just as much to offer if not more to breed more success in our children, neighborhoods, education and the workplace but we must be healthy to do so.
Bernadette Graham is a Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselor, and Certified Grief Recovery Specialist. She is also a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist. Provide feedback or reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org For appointment information please call 419.409.4929 (Appointments available on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays in office or telehealth. You may find more information at www.bjgrahamcounseling.com Available for team building, employee empowerment in motivation and better understanding mental health in the work place. Accepting new clients ages 13 and older.