This November, we shed some light on Men's Mental Health.
Did you know? Nearly 1 in every 10 men experience some form of depression, yet less than half actually seek treatment.
This is just one startling statistic that sheds light on the darkest parts of male mental health.
Many societies raise men to hold their emotions in, never allowing any form of weakness to show. This has created a global pandemic of men suffering in silence.
Men are human beings, too. They feel emotions and experience trauma just like the rest of us, yet society is far less educated on the mental health struggles men face on a daily basis.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at the most common male mental health disorders so we all can begin to understand our men just a little bit more.
What Do Male Mental Health Problems Look Like?
While there’s always an exception, there’s virtually no argument against the idea that women show their emotions far more than men do. Men are taught from birth to stand tall, pull themselves up by their bootstraps, and never ever show emotion.
Even little boys have the idea that “crying is for wusses” drilled into their heads by the time they enter grade school. This has made for generation after generation of men that would rather bottle it all up inside than seek help.
Since men don’t often talk about their internal struggles, male mental health problems can manifest as:
- Risky behaviors
- Substance use/abuse
- Physical ailments: chronic headaches or stomach pains
- Difficulty focusing
- Weight changes
As a result, male mental health problems are largely either misdiagnosed or untreated, sometimes for years. Men may feel societal pressure to display traditional “masculine” traits, hindering them from ever seeking treatment.
4 Common Male Mental Health Problems:
Now that you know what to be on the lookout for with your loved one, let’s talk about a few common mental health problems that arise in men.
Depression is a serious mood disorder that results in long periods of low moods, fatigue, little interest in outside activities or social situations, and an overall apathetic view of the world. This mental illness can affect the way a person talks, thinks and behaves.
Depression is in fact the most common mental health condition worldwide, and men are no exception. The Center For Disease Control has stated that 5.5% of young adult men experience depression, however, this number is thought to be higher as many men are misdiagnosed.
49% of men are more depressed than they are willing to admit, while nearly half of all men believe mental health conditions (such as depression) can be managed on their own.
While young adult men are diagnosed with depression less often than women, they’re 3.5x more likely to die by suicide. This alarming statistic clearly demonstrates how men are suffering just as much as women, however, without support or guidance, many of them take matters into their own hands.
Everyone feels anxious from time to time. Anxiety disorders are different.
Experiencing anxiety on a mental health level involves persistent, uncontrollable thoughts of worry, fear, dread, or stress regarding everyday life. While some situations can certainly make anxiety worse, having an anxiety disorder means dealing with anxious thoughts all day, every day.
Types of anxiety disorders in men include:
- Social anxiety
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Panic Disorder
While women are twice as likely to experience generalized anxiety disorder, men are far less likely to seek any type of treatment for it. In addition, women are more likely to suffer from panic disorder, however social anxiety seems to be quite equal between sexes.
Signs of anxiety differ between men and women. While women are more likely to show emotional signs such as panic, men are far more likely to show physical signs such as headaches, or aggression (which is often deemed more socially acceptable).
Largely thanks to Hollywood and other forms of entertainment, Schizophrenia may be one of the most misunderstood and highly stigmatized mental health diagnoses worldwide.
Many people that hear the word schizophrenic jump to the conclusion that an individual is violent, “crazy” or should be feared.
While schizophrenia is a severe mental illness, most schizophrenics aren’t overly aggressive toward others. Schizophrenia is a mental health condition in which an individual experiences both audio and visual hallucinations, paranoia, delusions, and other distorted ways of thinking.
No matter what age group you look at, men have higher rates than women for substance abuse problems.
Is this because men aren’t taught how to properly work through past trauma, or regulate their emotions in a healthy way?
It’s no surprise women are more likely to seek therapy for their mental health, reducing their risk of developing a drug or alcohol disorder. Men are often taught to hold their pain in, instead opting for risky behaviors such as drinking or abusing substances.
One harsh statistic that shows just how wide the gender gap is in alcohol use disorders is stated by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: 68,000 men die from alcohol-related causes per year, over twice the amount of women.
With substance abuse comes depression, anxiety, and other forms of mental health conditions. Whether or not these conditions are the root cause, or they’re the product of – remains debatable.
We All Need To Talk About Men's Mental Health:
No one is immune to stress, tragedy, or trauma. While men are often looked at as machines made to work, protect, and support their families, they, too, experience emotional turmoil within.
To put it simply: men are struggling and aren’t receiving the proper care they need. Men are dying at faster rates than ever before because seeking treatment is simply out of the question.
The more we talk about men’s mental health, the more normal the conversation becomes. As each of us in society plays our part to bring awareness to this crisis, the toxic stigma will slowly fade away.
The cultural idea that men are meant to be strong, without ever showing internal or external weakness is a crippling belief that has held us back for far too long. We all need to be talking about men’s mental health, so one day our men don’t have to suffer alone.