Thursday, January 5, 2012

Men and Depression

Mental Health and Men

 Mental Health for Men is a silent crisis.  There are new and emerging pressures for men, stemming from changes at work or loss of work, and in family and personal life.   


Social and economic changes have affected the family structure and have redefined the role of both straight and gay men within the home. Men have seen greater responsibility in contributing to housework and child-rearing. They may not have ever learned these skills.

Men and Medical and Mental Health Care

Women seek health care in much greater proportion than men. Men, on the other hand, traditionally shy away from the health-care system. When they do reach a physician, men tend to focus more on physical problems, and are less likely to discuss deeper emotional issues. Perhaps most influential are perceptions around male masculinity. As it is seen unmanly to discuss weakness, mental issues become masked and often go undiagnosed.

Depression and suicide

Researchers estimate that at least 6 million men suffer from depression each year in the United States. While this number is larger in women, men are almost four times more likely to suffer the ultimate consequence of their depression: suicide. Even though women attempt more suicides each year, men are more successful, in part because the methods employed by men are more lethal.  

Men are simply not seeking proper treatment. The issue is confounded because men’s depressive symptoms are not being readily recognized by physicians and by men themselves. Men are more willing to acknowledge physical symptoms---rather than sadness, worthlessness, hopelessness, and excessive guilt. It is these physical symptoms, and other signs such as alcohol or drug dependence and anger, that require greater recognition by men as possibly pointing toward an underlying illness of depression.

If you or someone you love is among the millions of men being plagued by the symptoms described above, it is important to seek help promptly.   There are numerous resource readily available online. While the cause of your depression may not be immediately clear, what is clear is that you’re not alone and should never feel ashamed. Depression is common and treatable.
In times of mental hardship, your greatest enemy is silence. Overcome this and you are well on your way to having good mental health.

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