Why men are a mess

Steve Biddulph (psychologist, well known author and champion of the Australian men’s movement) in his book Manhood outlines why men are a mess.

He argues that while men appear to have it all, in reality that’s not the case:

  • Boys are more likely to have behavioural and learning difficulties at school
  • At secondary school level boys are more likely than girls to leave school before completing Year 12, and average scores on end-of-school assessments are lower for boys than for girls
  • Suicide is the leading cause of death in men aged 15-44
  • Men on average are likely to live less longer than women by about 4 years
  • Men are four times more likely to commit crime compared to women
  • More than 80 per cent of violent crimes in Australia are committed by men
  • Approximately 40% of marriages break down (with divorce initiated by women about 70% of the time)
  • Some statistics show divorced men are eight times more likely than divorced women to commit suicide and men without wives are twice as likely to suffer depression and heart attacks

Manhood outlines that boys and men in our modern-day society miss out on knowing how to be a man, as healthy men are often absent in their world (e.g. there is a lack of healthy male role models at home/school/work/life) and this leaves both boys and men confused and lacking in direction.

Furthermore, boys and men are often torn between the contradictory (tough verses tender) images or stereotypes of being a man, and end up being quite confused.

Also, the reality for many men is that they don’t have close male friends or family members, as many men have difficulty connecting with one another at a more intimate or personal level compared to women.

“Young men need adult men, and adult men need older men.” Steve Buddulph

Boys and men need other men, but sadly this doesn’t happen as much as it used to, and this sense of isolation for many men, and not knowing how to be a man, can lead to numerous difficulties (e.g. anxiety, depression etc.) and contributes to the mess men now find themselves in.

However, it doesn’t have to remain this way, with a growing number of initiatives that are starting to combat this.

At this time last year I discussed one such initiative: Movember, which provides a reason to bring men together and promote mental health and wellbeing for men.

Why Movember is so important: Men need their mates

It is also important to know what it means to be a healthy man, so look out for my next blog that will explore what this means and also discuss some practical strategies to achieve this.

At Attuned Psychology we recognise the challenges that men face and provide practical support. If you feel it would be helpful to reach out to talk to someone, any of our practitioners would be pleased to assist.

John Pertl

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