From early childhood stages, boys are taught that they should not cry or show an overwhelming expression of emotion. Instead, they should always be in control. The topic of men and mental health often gets swept under the carpet, which leaves little room for men to truly express their emotions.
Jerome Peter Fredericks from Paarl in the Western Cape joins us to discuss men’s mental health. Fredericks is a lecturer in the faculty of medical and health sciences at Stellenbosch University and an occupational therapist with a key focus on physical rehabilitation and mental health.
In South Africa, as in most countries across the world, men have been raised to be strong. Did we ever stop to think about what impact these early lessons can have on a man?
The strength of expectations
When looking at the role of males in our present-day communities, Fredericks says that it all comes down to expectation. This very expectation is then further characterised by one’s beliefs, customs, culture and moral choices.
These expectations also dictate how the man is supposed to operate in the world around him, which can lead to immense pressure and feelings of inadequacy. It is therefore important for the man to make his own choices as to who he is and how he wants to operate in the world, Fredericks says.
He also mentions that it is part of our reality that we live in a fatherless society, which takes away the opportunity of observational learning. In this case, the role of role models in communities becomes core to the development and growth of the man.
Many factors can contribute to the mental condition of the man, says Fredericks. Some of these are:
- Reflection on achievement;
- Relationship with self, others and faith;
- Employment/lack thereof; and
- Previous trauma.
In the podcast, Fredericks also elaborates on practical tools to overcome ill mental health.
Listen to the full interview on the Health For Mzansi podcast:
Apple Podcasts: Click here to listen on any Apple device.
Google Podcasts: Click here to listen on Google Podcast.
Get the Health For Mzansi newsletter: Your bi-weekly dose of kasi health, wellness and self-care inspiration.