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An Introduction to Men’s Issues and Men’s Mental Health

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Abstract

Men experience elevated rates of various mental health issues including suicide, substance use disorder and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, as well as lower rates of mental health service utilization. Moreover, men and boys are experiencing increasing difficulties in sectors such as education and employment, with increased risk of low educational attainment and failure to launch. Such difficulties are sometimes narrowly explained with reference to a singular concept – masculinity – without exercising any peripheral vision to examine social context and population-level factors. This narrow approach has tended to unduly dominate the conversation about men’s mental health, and can also verge on victim blaming the affected men. This chapter argues for change, namely, the adoption of a novel public-health inspired approach to men’s mental health, with a focus on distal and proximal social determinants. Such change would involve moving beyond a narrow one-dimensional focus on the concept of masculinity, and would instead focus on population-level factors that negatively affect men’s mental health including: (i) harmful stereotypes of men; (ii) the gender empathy gap; and (iii) male gender blindness. These three concepts are described and illuminated with reference to various examples, including male victims of intimate partner violence, and recent discussions about gender and COVID-19.

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Whitley, R. (2021). An Introduction to Men’s Issues and Men’s Mental Health. In: Men’s Issues and Men’s Mental Health. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-86320-3_1

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