Gender inequality in help-seeking behavior in the field of mental health
Help-seeking behavior is termed as someone seeking help readily based on their problem. It shows in some studies that some individuals feel comfortable in seeking help from close people around them while others feel the need to take help from mental health professionals.
As we know many individuals do not seek help or feel uncomfortable when thinking of seeking help when it comes to mental health especially when it boils down to which gender has higher chances to seek help. A study was done by Eastern Kentucky University and it showed that women engaged in help-seeking behavior more than males when it came to emotional problems.
Another study done by Oliver et al mentioned that men should be encouraged more to seek help which will in turn show improvements in this group. As the help-seeking behavior of this group is comparatively slow, it leads to higher numbers of mental health issues and feeds more on the idea of “men shouldn’t seek help” and disregards their needs.
When it comes to seeking help in any form or way, there should be equality and awareness about the options available and every individual should have the right to take the necessary help no matter the gender, age, sex, caste, and more. Seeking help for mental health is not something that should be gender-biased or connected with gender instead it should be taken as a normal part of life irrespective of the lifestyle choices of the said person. Seeking help doesn’t make anyone weak or vulnerable instead it makes us stronger and helps us solve and deal with difficult situations.
The question is what stops us from seeking help and how does gender plays a role in it. Society has always shown mental health is a taboo for decades, especially when it is specified in terms of genders. Some people believe in working towards solving their problems on their own even when it gets hard which in turn makes it harder for the person to cope, and to support this a study was conducted which showed that males had higher chances of suggesting someone work their problems out by themselves while females had higher chances of suggesting people seek help from a professional like a psychologist. Hence, after many discussions and researches, it has been found that gender inequality does exist when it comes to helping seeking behavior and it is important that this World Mental Health Day we slowly try to break that belief system and encourage more people to take help whenever necessary, no matter how small or big, no matter the gender the person identifies with. Help is for all.
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About the Author.
Aishani Chatterjee is a psychologist at MindTribe.in. You can learn more about her by clicking here
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of MindTribe.in, the Founders, or management team.
Acknowledgement: All images used are open source and from Unsplash.