LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Society doesn't support, encourage mental illness treatment for men


After every mass shooting we try to figure out what made the shooters commit such tragedies. 

I’m stunned that mental illness is not getting the attention it deserves.

I understand Stephen Paddock, the Las Vegas shooter, was not suffering from any mental illness, that we know right now, but there’s an odd similarity in mass shootings.

Paddock was a male. 

The Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooter was a male. 

Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, Columbine — all the shooters were males.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration concludes roughly 18 percent of adults in America suffer from mental illness. 

Fortunately, we live in a progressive time where mental illness is no longer stigmatized the way it was in the past. 

But why is it still swept under the rug by many, especially for a particular group of people?

According to Time magazine, 98 percent of attackers in mass shootings are historically male. 

Since 1966, only three women have committed the same actions. Men are also responsible for 90 percent of homicides in the U.S. 

This is not to blindly state men are violent. 

Anyone, regardless of gender, can commit violent acts and crimes. 

Instead, this is a wake-up call to the unfair norms society expects of men when it comes to mental health.

In a report by Psychology Today, three-quarters of suicide victims in the U.S. are men. 

It’s estimated every 20 minutes a man commits suicide. 

Also mentioned in the report, men are less likely to seek treatment for mental illness. 

I stopped and thought about it, then I realized how true it is in my life.

My friend group is predominantly male. 

Whenever they talk to me about their feelings, it breaks my heart when they feel the need to apologize. 

It’s concerning to know that I’m not the first, or last, person they have apologized to for doing something so natural. 

They should have right to cry, rant, vent or say whatever is plaguing them like I and any other woman can without being judged. 

It made me realize how men are told to never talk about their feelings in fear of appearing weak and vulnerable to their peers. 

They’re told to suck it up when their emotions get the best of them. 

Meanwhile, it seems, women are free to be emotional and discuss their issues.

In a world where majority groups are constantly being told to “check their privilege,” people start to forget men do face real problems. 

When a man speaks up, the general response he now gets is, “What issues do you have?” 

Society forgets men go through the same mental and emotional obstacles everyone else does.

If you are suffering from mental illness, do not be afraid to speak up about it. 

There are many ways to seek treatment for it. Central Michigan University has a counseling center on campus for students located in Foust Hall. 

The Listening Ear Crisis Center in Mount Pleasant has a 24/7 hotline you can reach at (989) 772-2918.

There is always the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

The more we make mental illness a less taboo subject for everyone, including men, the more society can move forward and evolve.

Please, never think you are alone or can’t seek help.


Newaygo Senior