It’s nothing new that there’s a serious stigma surrounding depression and suicide. Things have improved (we’ve even seen mega pop stars like Little Mix start important conversations about mental health), however many people are still ashamed to speak out.
Although ANYONE can be affected by depression, dealing with it can be particularly hard for men due to sexist stereotypes and expectations society has forced us to believe about masculinity.
In 2014, male suicide accounted for 76% of all suicides and it’s the biggest killer for men under the age of 45. That’s NOT okay. We were thrilled to see Huffington Post attempt to raise awareness with their new campaign, however some people think they didn’t quite get it right.
The campaign, entitled ‘#BoysDoCry’, encourages men to share the last time they cried and is part of their “month-long focus around men to highlight the pressures they face around identity and to raise awareness of the epidemic of suicide.”
“To address some of the issues at hand, Building Modern Men presents a snapshot of life for men, the difficulty in expressing emotion, the challenges of speaking out, as well as kick starting conversations around male body image, LGBT identity, male friendship and mental health.”
Sounds great, right? We’re all for addressing the issues above, however many people have found problems with the campaign and believe it to promote misleading ideas about what depression actually is and looks like.
— Huffington Post UK (@HuffPostUK) November 1, 2016
The video sees men talk about all the stuff they’ve cried about, such as “Finding Dory”, “when my daughter was born”, and “adverts and songs”. Brad Simpson from The Vamps even talks about the time he laughed so hard he cried.
That’s cool and all, but what does this have to do with depression and suicide?
We love that the campaign teaches men that it’s okay to express emotion, but it’s important to note that crying at something or simply feeling sad doesn’t necessarily mean you have depression. Depression is not an emotion, it’s a mental illness.
The signs of depression can be complex and vary widely between people. The symptoms persist for weeks and months and are bad enough to interfere with your work, social life and family life.
Being tearful can be a symptom of depression, however some sufferers don’t cry at all. There are a whole bunch of symptoms and whether you cry or not is just a tiny part of the whole picture.
A lot of people were understandably concerned about the message the campaign was giving out…
— Miss Politics (@Pooolitics) November 1, 2016
— Gareth Howells (@thetudorist) November 1, 2016
I get this, but some people find it hard to cry and it doesn't mean that they're OK. https://t.co/MHPgohKduM
— Hanif / حنيف (@hanifleylabi) November 1, 2016
However, some people argued that it was still a step in the right direction and therefore a very good thing
@HuffPostUK I had never seen my Dad cry, and he committed suicide. Perhaps a good cry and sharing his unhappiness we could have helped.😪
— Elle⛸Martin (@ellelouise31) November 1, 2016
— Delna (@Delna_42) November 1, 2016
— Christopher Farrelly (@ChrisFarrelly) November 1, 2016
But what do YOU think? There is absolutely nothing wrong with crying, but is this the best way to raise awareness of depression? Could it be giving out a dangerous message? Drop us a comment in the section below.
PS. Be sure to check out the full list of symptoms and get help if you’re worried you or somebody you know may have depression.