Many men have been raised to not talk, cry, or reach out for support. Therefore, their grief tends to stay inside. There is evidence that men are more likely than women to remain silent or grieve in isolation, engage in action-oriented forms of grief expression, or lose themselves in distractions such as work.With the spotlight on men’s health recently, let’s look at how this sensitive time can be difficult for some men to work through and how we can offer support.
If a male loved one is mourning a loss, you can help by letting them know you are there to listen and support them when they are ready to talk. Let it happen on their terms, and don’t pressure them. Although it may seem best to give them space, it is important not to isolate them at such an emotionally vulnerable time. Listen to them, hold them, run errands for them, sit in silence with them, just be present.
Try to use language that doesn’t belittle the process of grieving or the feeling they are experiencing, so avoid cliche terms such as “You’re being so brave” or “It will get easier”. Instead, let them know you are there for them without diminishing the very real loss they are feeling, for example, “I don’t know how you feel, but I am here to help in any way I can.”
Men often will pursue activities to distract them from thinking about their grief. One way to help is suggest a project your loved one can work on that honours the individual who has passed away. This could be participating in an awareness walk or marathon, or even building something dedicated to their loved one’s memory. Doing something hands-on with a productive goal can be incredibly healing for men.
Everyone deals with grief in their own way, and you must allow them to do that, but you can help in small ways like carrying out day to day tasks, or you can offer things that provide momentary relief such as a long hug or a good laugh. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to grieve after a loss so rather than trying to offer advice, the best we can do is just be there and try and make daily life a little easier.
For immediate support text Shout
on 85258, they provide a free, confidential, 24/7 text messaging support service for anyone who is struggling to cope.