Mental Health Blog

Men in the Helping Professions

Trigger warning: The passage you are about to read contains suicide discussion.

Mental health problems within men should be significantly addressed, but more importantly, the source of these issues should be addressed. With the notions of toxic masculinity being a dominant force in contemporary society, it is time to take a stance against it. Toxic masculinity has been noted to be the root of many modern-day issues that men face. This ranges from the higher rates of suicide to having difficulty managing emotions. Toxic masculinity puts on constraints and limits one to feel the need to uphold and conform to the ideal picture of a “man.” But what does it really mean to be a “man?” With the world becoming increasingly modern, the social construct of toxic masculinity should be challenged and defeated to achieve a world in which one is free to be human, to express their emotions, problems and struggles. Furthermore, through defying these social norms, gender equality will be a step closer to being achievable. 

There currently exists a gender gap between men and women in the field of STEM. Men comprise 72% of the field whereas women are only represented by 28%. There is a multitude of reasons that play into this gap such as stereotypes, self-assessment, spatial skills, and implicit and workplace bias. With the major gap difference between the two genders, there have been major concerted efforts to tackle this gap such as scholarships, government projects, and opportunities that push for better equality. For instance, the National Science Foundation has contributed 270 million dollars to create initiatives that support women in the sciences. Despite this, the gap remains and the field remains dominated by men.

Not only is it important to push women and girls towards the field of STEM, but equally, men and boys should be pushed towards the arts and the helping professions. This includes fields such as healthcare (specifically nursing) and elementary education. It is important to start shifting internal factors like toxic masculinity to reframe oneself in the context of the changing world. Boys should not feel restricted by traditional notions of masculinity and restrict themselves from pursuing fields that are stereotypically viewed as “feminine.” There shouldn’t be shame and judgement for pursuing a profession that you’re passionate about. This only serves to reinforce social norms that were established because of toxic masculinity. Through increasing men in the helping professions as well as promoting women in the field of STEM, there will be more milestones towards achieving gender equality as well as closing the gender gap. 

Inadvertently, this shift will allow and encourage both men and women to challenge social and gender norms. When these norms are challenged, toxic masculinity will be mitigated, conversely eliminating other mental health issues that are pertinent within men. 

Note: The Free Your Mind Mental Health Society is an independent youth-led organization. The contents of this blog are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In the event of a medical emergency, please call your doctor or 911 or other local emergency numbers immediately.


Campbell, Leah.( 2019, June 30). Why Many Men Have a Harder Time Seeking Treatment for Mental Illness [Blog post].

Kaufman, S. B. (2020, February 4). Why Don’t People Care That More Men Don’t Choose Caregiving Professions? Scientific American Blog Network. 

The STEM Gap: Women and Girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – AAUW : Empowering Women Since 1881. AAUW. (2020, October 5). 

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