Toxic Masculinity & Male Suicide

Updated: Sep 18, 2020

By: Logan Cohen, Professional Therapist & Online Life Coach - Balanced Man Plan

In 2018, the American Psychological Association (APA) released a formal statement and accompanying body of research to officially name the phrase “toxic masculinity”.

Toxic masculinity is the phrase used to describe the standard collection of cultural expectations we have for Men in our Society (Western Culture) that are, well – “toxic”

Toxic masculinity & male suicide epidemic

As a Professional Therapist and Online Life Coach who also happens to be a Man, I hated the APA’s new name for how it labeled my gender personally, and could only imagine how my clients would respond to this body of research and the name it was given...toxic masculinity...

First, there are so many wonderful, awesome, and amazing things about being a Man. I have generally enjoyed my experience of Manhood, and especially in a country that is better off than many other impoverished places around the World.

And to make matters easier, I haven’t had to think about the implications of giving birth – couldn’t even imagine that one and frankly, you Ladies can keep that whole experience!

Since we aren’t the gender dedicated to childbirth, we have been given pretty amazing physical bodies in terms of performance in comparison to the female sex.

Yes, Women can create Life and all, but through the years when it is time to go to War with the neighboring Tribe - or when the antelope are herding through the savannah, us Men have been throwing down for thousands of years and the athletic potential of our bodies are proof of this.

Barring a few exceptions, Men are physically faster and stronger relative to Women as a whole. If you have been paying attention to professional sports recently, then you have been watching young phenom baseball players or Lineman that are both BIGGER and FASTER than they have ever been in history.

You can learn more about about these differences and how they impact Men versus Women in our Physical Health Self-Guided Coaching Plan.

Another awesome part of being a Man is our potential for connection. Us Men are often told that we are “not naturally as emotional“ or that we “don’t need relationships” as much as Women do.

I want to tell you here as a seasoned Professional Therapist and Online Life Coach – that is complete BS!

For as much as we are told that Men don’t naturally “do that mushy stuff”, Men are actually just as capable of developing as strong a connection with Loved Ones as Women.

When us Men are connected to fMRI imaging that can literally read the intensity of our brain waves while we are actively engaged with our Loved Ones in research studies, findings show that Men can connect JUST as well as WOMEN.

These same research studies show that we also get all of the associated health benefits of satisfying our needs for Love & Belonging that our Female peers do, such as improved immune and digestive function, as well as lowered stress levels.

Last, but certainly not least – is our allowance of independence as Men in our society. I really appreciate my sense of independence as a Man .

As a Professional in the Workforce who is also a Man, I can dedicate an incredible amount of energy to my professional life, especially in comparison to my Wife who put her own on hold in order to have our Child.

She allowed me priority to develop myself professionally early on because I had more earning potential at the time to support our young family as a financial provider.

Through the years, I have developed into the primary provider for my Family and in doing so, I have started other entrepreneurial projects (like New Leaf Counseling Group in Charlotte, NC) that allow me to not only continue providing for my Family, but also stay true to my own Balance of Self-Identity & Life's Purpose by following my passions in Counseling Psychology to improve Life a bit each day for my fellow Man (and Woman of course).

This has all required an intensive development of problem-solving skills that I get to make a part of my everyday Life and also have the opportunity to continue sharpening throughout the rest of my days.

All of these cultural expectations and resulting Life decisions have served myself and my Family well. Many aspects of this independence, toughness & problem solving have worked out beautifully. So…what is the big deal?

Can YOU see this "toxic masculinity" that is such a problem that it could be part of a male suicide epidemic? If you can’t, then that is in line with views of the Average American these days.

If you would like to see what exactly is meant by "toxic masculinity", why the phrase is poorly chosen, and how unhelpful elements around traditional manhood can and DO play out DANGEROUSLY for Men every day whether we know it or not - then you are in the right place.

The Ways Toxic Masculinity Sets Up Male Suicide:

#1 Way Toxic Masculinity Sets Up Male Suicide - Independence Overload

Men are Taught Independence to the degree of self-negligence. Remember that old joke that Women commonly make about Men and our avoidance of asking for directions while driving around in a vehicle?

That joke/observation might be a thing of the past to those of you born after 2000 and have always relied on GPS navigation, but if you are born before 2000, you should be fairly familiar with that example of a cultural expectation.

This “load bearing wall” of traditional manhood in terms of independence is great and all, but is is often taken to extremes in that we should not only be independent, but able to handle whatever Life throws at us on our own.

The avoidance of asking for help to appear confident extends to SO many areas of every day life in Modern Society that it might be helpful to hear a few common examples from my work as a Professional Therapist and Online Life Coach.

I have worked with many Men in private practice who have had SUCH a difficult time asking for help, or even admitting they need it to begin with, that it breaks up their Marriages, pulls them towards high risk behavior such as drug/alcohol use and/or infidelity, and can even result in things becoming dangerous.

As time goes on and us Men continue practicing life habits that are NOT working for us and Loved Ones around us, we oftentimes just grow worse drifting deeper into isolation until we lose touch completely.

As a result, many Men are taught that our sense of Self-Identity will be disrupted if we were to ask for help. If this Area of Life has gotten you stuck before, then it might be time to go ahead and dig in to our Identity Self-Guided Coaching Plan.

The Ways Toxic Masculinity Sets Up Male Suicide:

#2 Way Toxic Masculinity Sets Up Male Suicide - Tougher Than Hu(Man)