It is estimated that 6 million men in America deal with depression, and one in three men meet the criteria for the mental health condition. Unfortunately, male depression often goes undiagnosed for multiple reasons: men are less likely to recognize the signs of depression, less likely to admit they are experiencing depressive symptoms, and less likely to seek treatment for mental health concerns.
While depression is often characterized as sadness and melancholy, many men experience depression as a rise in negative emotions, increased anger, frustration, irritability, and excessive fatigue and exhaustion, or losing interest in work, family and daily activities. When these feelings persist over time, seeking help should never be seen as a weakness.
Talk about it
Talking about mental health is the first step to removing negative stereotypes around the condition. For men, however, this step can be especially challenging. Misconceptions about depression as a weakness or feminine issue lead many men to stay silent or downplay and dismiss symptoms. Seeking support is not something to be embarrassed or ashamed of, and it is important to reach out to a friend, family member or professional to talk about feelings or experiences with depression.
Be aware of escapist behavior
Be mindful of escapist behavior tendencies like working excessively long hours at work, engaging in risky behavior, or even self-medicating with drugs and alcohol. These behaviors may indicate an underlying emotional health issue. Confidential help is available through your Assistance Program.
There are many ways to reduce stress and achieve total well-being. Building a support system, connecting socially, staying active, getting quality sleep, eating healthy, making time for relaxation and getting regular screenings and check-ups are all important for both physical and emotional well-being.
Mental health is just as important as physical health and professional help is available. Reach out to your Assistance Program for information, resources, or referrals.