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Men’s Mental Health: Time for a Paradigm Shift

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Men’s Issues and Men’s Mental Health

Abstract

The data marshaled throughout this book points toward a need for a paradigm shift in the field of men’s mental health. This must involve moving away from tired and cliched monocausal explanations that men’s mental health woes are caused by factors such as “toxic masculinity” or men’s supposed emotional illiteracy. Instead, we must move toward a more holistic interdisciplinary public-health inspired perspective that is based on hard scientific evidence rather than soft unscientific ideologies. This paradigm shift must involve five specific factors, namely: (i) greater consideration of the complex web of causation and the sociocultural determinants of men’s mental health issues, especially in relation to factors such as education, employment, and the family; (ii) acknowledging, respecting, and harnessing the helpful role of traditional masculinity in promoting and fostering men’s mental health; (iii) adopting a positive strengths-based approach to the mental health of men and boys in the clinic and elsewhere, instead of a negative deficit-based victim-blaming approach; (iv) moving away from simplistic dichotomies and harmful stereotypes that frame all men as inherently privileged or villainous and thus unworthy of attention; and (v) developing gender-based policies, programs, and procedures in health care and beyond that are male-friendly and integrate common male perspectives.

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Whitley, R. (2021). Men’s Mental Health: Time for a Paradigm Shift. In: Men’s Issues and Men’s Mental Health. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-86320-3_10

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