‘Toughing It Out’ Is Not the Answer

Many boys are taught not to show emotions like sadness or fear from a young age. Phrases like “man up” or “don’t be a baby” are used too often. The unspoken rule is that “real men” must always act tough and strong, no matter what problems they face on the inside.

This outdated idea that men should never ask for help or talk about feelings has created a harmful stigma around men’s mental health. The pressure to always “tough it out” alone prevents so many men from getting the care they need for issues like depression, anxiety, trauma, or addiction.

The cost of this stigma is exceptionally high. Men are much less likely than women to get treatment for mental health struggles despite dealing with many of the same challenges. They are also more likely to turn to unhealthy ways of coping, like alcohol, drugs, violence, or even suicide. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death for men in the U.S.

The notion that admitting emotional pain or seeking support is “unmanly” is completely wrong. In truth, having the courage to be open about inner struggles and ask for help when needed is courageous.

It’s time to redefine what being a “real man” means. True strength isn’t bottling everything up or mindlessly “toughing it out” through severe inner turmoil. True strength is self-awareness, the ability to recognize when you need help and take steps to improve your mental well-being—no matter how hard that is.

Here are some ways we can all help fight this unfair stigma:

  • Call out hurtful phrases that discourage showing emotions and teach boys it’s okay to be vulnerable.
  • Make it normal to discuss mental health challenges without judgment openly.
  • Share examples of men who have benefited from counseling, therapy, or other mental health care.
  • Promote self-care like exercise, meditation, and close friendships as healthy masculine strengths.
  • If you’re struggling, build a support system of people you trust to open up to.
  • Most notably, never discourage a man from getting mental health care. His life could depend on it.

Men And Mental Health2

Real courage isn’t suffering in silence. True bravery is prioritizing mental health above outdated ideas of manliness. “Toughing it out” shouldn’t mean dealing with emotional pain alone—it means getting the care your mind needs with the same strength as your body. Mental fitness is true toughness.

If you’re a man in need of mental health support, the team at South Platte Counseling is here for you without any judgment. We offer therapy services to help men process emotions, build coping strategies, and improve their well-being. Our compassionate counselors provide a safe, confidential space to discuss any challenges you face. Don’t let the “tough it out” stigma prevent you from getting the care you deserve. We encourage and support men to prioritize their mental health.

Reach out today to get started on a path toward healing.

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