“Men are supposed to be tough!”
Our society has this perception that men need to be tough and that seeking help for mental health issues is seen as weakness. This is a major issue, and this notion could not be further from the truth. In this week’s blog, we aim to shed some light on some unfortunate statistics that showcase the negative impact of this perception while also pointing towards some resources to help those in need get the help they deserve, and should be seeking out without fear of ridicule.
When we talk about the health of an individual, we aren’t solely talking about the absence of illness, but a state of mental, physical, and social well-being. Mental health is such a vital component of overall wellness, but is often overlooked as a negligible determinant of our overall health picture. More than 42 million Americans experience a mental illness each year, and we are focusing on one group in particular this month. June is Men’s Health Month, and we are exploring the critical mental health needs of men, as part of their overall health and wellness.
The following statistics help us to understand the complex needs surrounding men and their mental health:
Nearly 1 in 10 men experience depression and anxiety. That’s 162 Million men just in the USA alone!
According to a poll of 21,000 American men by researchers at the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), nearly one in ten men reported experiencing some form of depression or anxiety, but less than half sought treatment.
Men die by suicide 3.5x more often than women. Men experience a higher rate of suicide than women specifically because they do not seek out the help they need. Depression, when left untreated, can in some cases reach a crisis point of suicidal thoughts/contemplation. With so few men reaching out for help or support, and instead suffering in silence, this is a major contributing factor in why men face a higher suicide rate. You should never have to suffer in silence over the fear of perception if you talk to someone.
Forty-nine percent of men feel more depressed than they admit to the people in their life. A Today Show commissioned survey of more than 1,000 men revealed the truth that many assume. Men are much less likely to voice struggles with mental illness, and even thoughts of suicide.
Making the decision to start a conversation with a friend or loved one about mental health is not an easy thing to do, and takes tremendous courage and strength. The Canadian Men’s Health Foundation has produced a great video on the subject of approaching these tough conversations – Click here to watch it
It’s likely that someone you know is experiencing feelings of depression or anxiety, and you have the power to make a difference in their lives. Take action for Men’s Health Month by looking out for those that you love. Check in with the men in your life, and make sure they are doing okay. The more awareness we bring to this subject, the more the perception will shift, and more men’s lives will potentially be saved as a result. If you are a man reading this, if you need help, this is an opportunity to not only get the help you need, but also to set an example for other men out there. The importance of de-stigmatizing men’s mental health cannot be stressed enough, and the responsibility lies with every one of us.
For more information on this subject, or resources if you need help, please visit: