Men’s Mental Health Matters
Monday, June 26, 2023
TW // Suicide
In a society that often places emphasis on traditional masculine values like strength and self-reliance, it’s crucial to recognize that men’s mental health is just as important as their physical well-being. Men may experience mental health symptoms differently from women, and it’s essential to address these differences to ensure effective support. Let’s break the silence together surrounding men’s mental health and promote understanding and acceptance by taking a look at specific symptoms that commonly affect men during June, Men’s Mental Health Month.
Depression affects men more than we may realize, yet it often goes undiagnosed or untreated. While men and women can experience similar symptoms of depression, men tend to display certain signs differently. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 9% of men worldwide experience depressive disorders. Men may be more likely to exhibit symptoms such as irritability, anger, reckless behavior, increased substance abuse and physical complaints like headaches or digestive problems.
Anxiety disorders can affect anyone, regardless of gender, but men may express their anxiety in unique ways. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, approximately 15% of men in the United States experience an anxiety disorder each year. Men may be more prone to experiencing irritability, restlessness, difficulty concentrating and even physical symptoms like muscle tension, an increased heart rate or sweating when dealing with anxiety.
Substance use conditions can often coexist with underlying mental health conditions. Men are statistically more likely than women to struggle with issues related to addiction and substance use disorder. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) estimates that approximately 9% of men in the United States have a substance use disorder. Men may turn to alcohol or drugs as a coping mechanism for dealing with stress, depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions, leading to a dangerous cycle of addiction and mental health challenges.
Tragically, suicide rates among men remain alarmingly high globally. In the United States, men die by suicide at a rate three times higher than women, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Men may experience unique risk factors and display warning signs that differ from women. Understanding these signs is crucial for early intervention and support. Men may be more likely to withdraw socially, exhibit aggressive behavior, express feelings of hopelessness or anger, and engage in high-risk activities.
PTSD and Trauma
Men often face different types of trauma compared to women, such as combat, accidents or violent experiences. As a result, they may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at a higher rate. Research suggests that around 10% of men develop PTSD in their lifetime. Men with PTSD may experience symptoms such as increased irritability, anger outbursts, emotional numbing and a heightened sense of vigilance (hypervigilance).
Understanding the unique ways in which men experience mental health symptoms is vital for promoting early intervention and effective support. By breaking the silence and encouraging open conversations about men’s mental health, we can challenge societal norms and foster an environment of acceptance and understanding. Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength, and support is available. If you or someone you know is struggling, reach out to mental health professionals (like us!), support groups or helplines. Together, we can create a society where men’s mental health is prioritized and nurtured, enabling them to lead fulfilling and healthy lives.
You matter to us!