According to the Mental Health Foundation, one in eight men in England has a common mental health condition like anxiety, panic disorder, depression, or obsessive-compulsive disorder. As with most mental health stats, however, it can be hard to determine whether the numbers really showcase the reality. They only show us mental health conditions that have been reported and leave out the undiagnosed cases, which is especially true for men’s mental health.
Here is a list of other signs that might provide more clarity in regards to men’s mental health:
- 3 times as many males as females die through suicide
- Men report lower levels of satisfaction in life compared to women
- In the UK, men between the age of 40 and 49 have the highest rates of suicide
- Men are less likely to seek psychological help compared to women. Only 36% of NHS talking therapies referrals are for men.
Additionally, men are more likely to go missing, become alcohol dependent, use drugs regularly and sleep rough in comparison to women.
Why Do Men Avoid Mental Health Discussions?
All this comes down to stigma and stereotypes. Traditional gender roles and society’s expectations play a major role in why men hesitate to talk or seek assistance for their mental health issues. We know that gender stereotypes regarding women (how they should look and behave) for instance, can have negative effects. Similarly, it is imperative to know that men can be damaged by society’s expectations and stereotypes as well.
Men are usually expected to be strong and provide for their families, be dominant and take control. These may not be inherently bad things, but they can hinder men from reaching out and seeking help. Studies also hint that men who are unable to talk openly about their emotions are less likely to recognize symptoms of mental health issues and less likely to seek help.
Also, men are more prone to use potentially harmful coping habits like alcohol or drugs, and less likely to speak to loved ones regarding their mental health. However, studies show men will access the help and support that matches their preferences, is meaningful, engaging, and easy to access.
Does Depression Differ in Men?
While there’s nothing like ‘male depression, there are some depression symptoms that are more prevalent in men. Examples include aggression, risk-taking, sudden anger, irritability, and increased loss of control.
Also, men are more likely to take drugs and alcohol in an attempt to deal with depression instead of talking about it. Escapist behavior is common in depressed men as well, like overly indulging in their work. One for that I would recommend for as a form of relaxation for anyone stuffing is a sports massage, just do a quick Google search to find facilities near you for example ‘sports message Fleet‘.
Men and Suicide
In 2007, Great Britain recorded about 6000 suicide cases. 75% of these cases were men, making suicide one of the primary causes of death among men under 50 years.
Higher suicide rates were also recorded in minority communities including war veterans, men from black, Asian, and minority ethnic backgrounds, and those with low income. Also, middle-aged men who are well off are more likely to die by suicide.
Mental health in men is clearly a topic that needs massive attention given its toll on numerous individuals. Don’t feel ashamed to talk about your anxiety, stress, depression, OCD, etc.