It's baffling how societal stereotypes continue to promote toxic masculinity by equating the idea of men seeking help as a sign of weakness. There are plenty of cliches that get ingrained into the mind's of boys, like "don't cry like a girl", or "real men don't show their emotions" and when if they do, they are told to "man up." But bottling one's emotions, not seeking help when needed, and displaying a tough, stoic exterior while experiencing emotional pain is damaging for the mental health of men and even linked to higher rates of poor self-worth, anxiety, depression, violence and suicide.
To create actual change, we all need to be more actively aware of the messages we give our boys, and how we support and draw out our men, most of whom have been raised with these damaging misconceptions. Guys may not be able to express their emotions easily or openly, but that does not mean that they don't have feelings, or that they don't experience just as much emotional pain as women. We can start by supporting open emotional expression, irrespective of one's gender and realise that seeking help is NOT a sign of weakness, but a mark of strength, courage and wisdom. After all, a drowning man who does not seek help simply drowns. Game over!