The first part of this article explored the differences and similarities of expectations placed upon men and women by society’s code of what defines “success”.
The following long-term effects examples do not discriminate between men and women in the United States. While the push for equality when it comes to good mental health representation is on the rise, the only way we will be successful with equal representation is for the government to stand up and step forward to represent all taxpayers. As of the present day, the following statistics surrounding men’s and women’s mental health in America are as follows:
Suicide is on the rise
According to NIH.gov, there are more attempted suicides in women for feeling misunderstood, alone, unworthy, and being left out of America’s strict partnerships between government, religion, educational systems, and workforce. Historically and presently, the conditioning and encouragement of men, especially white men, beginning with early childhood expectations, continues into adulthood. Not much has changed in 2023.
Violence is on the rise
According to Mental Health America, in 2023, the southern states are ranked the lowest—including Texas which is ranked the lowest—for access to mental healthcare, with Georgia, Arizona, and Florida not far behind. Furthermore, some of these states ranked among the highest for violence, including shootings.
Financial stipulations continue for all women, single men and women, and people of color
The financial stipulations placed upon earning lesser incomes yet paying more in taxes hold many people back from achieving personal and financial goals such as access to owning a home, saving more for retirement, and, if they are single mothers or fathers, being able to provide for their children throughout life. It leaves them feeling hopeless, frustrated, worthless, depressed, and alone. These subgroups of the population will never have equal access to anything if they don’t have equal access to income, including equal access to affordable mental healthcare.
Continued unacceptance of coexistence
We are one human race; we bleed the same. If the government and the religious sector continue to preach and behave with a “this or that” mentality instead of a “this and that” mentality, humanity’s perception and feelings of segregation and isolation will continue to grow.
Since the pandemic started, the United States has taken a few steps backward with its approach to what it means to be “free” in a world where people of different skin colors, different religious beliefs, and different ideologies are on the receiving end of violence and shame. The government and religious sectors are pitting us against each other by playing into our fear and creating divisive reactions and responses, regardless of the “party.” And in doing so, denying the lack of equal access to primary human needs, including affordable mental healthcare.
In the words of Bruce Springsteen: “Blind faith in your leaders or in anything will get you killed.”
How can we make concrete changes for ourselves?
Men and women face many similar challenges on the collective path to happiness and success. Mark D. Motz—award-winning writer, and editor—and I pointed out some of our viewpoints to help reveal men’s and women’s common ground. As such, we believe some essential facts come with a call to action:
Or at least the win-at-all-costs attitude. Both men and women need to be mindful of each other’s challenges. No side has it easier or more complex than the other. Both sides have valid feelings and difficult experiences to navigate despite societal “norms.” So, work to practice empathy.
Not reaching an ideal doesn’t make you a “wrong” person. It makes you human, and this is normal. Nothing and no one is perfect. The people who project fear onto others for them to feel shame happen because the person projecting their own fear of failure—perhaps a side-effect of not being accepted and loved for being human themselves.
You are an agent of change
Both men and women are equally responsible agents of change. Not only do individuals have inherent worth, they have an intrinsic responsibility to safeguard their agency. Don’t rely on somebody else to watch out for your best interest. Register to vote, study issues and candidates, form opinions, and hit the polls. Yes, there is corruption in America’s voting system, like in any system worldwide. It shouldn’t stop you from exercising your rights.
Don’t fall for mass behaviors and expectations
We inspire each other by leading by example and encouraging and demonstrating inclusivity.
“Nobody wins unless everybody wins.” – Bruce Springsteen
Violence doesn’t solve violence
Two wrongs don’t make a right, so remember the golden rule: Treat others how you want to be treated. We learn this as children; let’s live this as adults.
Good mental health representation needs to be for everyone. The brain is an integral part of our body—our health depends on it. Everyone deserves to be happy and prosperous, not only specific demographics of one human race.
We are meant to collaborate and coexist as a community because we all live on the same planet. Our government and religious sectors do not define “happiness and success” for us. Keep pushing for equal access to affordable healthcare—including mental healthcare. It is unfair for you to spend your life working only to pay taxes on promises that never materialize. You and your family deserve equal access to happiness and success on your terms.
* A special thanks to Mark D. Motz for providing the male perspective research.