Men’s mental health has often been described as a silent crisis. Men across the country are experiencing high rates of depression, anxiety and substance abuse; while often not seeking any form of treatment or advice.
The most common mental health problems affecting men are:
- Bipolar Disorder
- Psychosis and schizophrenia
- Eating disorders
The United States population is over 326 million people, over 156 million of which are male. Suicide among all men, regardless of race or age, is the 7th leading cause of death. In comparison, the suicide rate among all women, regardless of race or age, is the 14th leading cause of death. That’s twice as high!
The American Psychological Association states that surveys over the past few decades have shown that men of all ages are less likely than women to seek help than women, even though men experience mental health issues more often.
This inactivity in seeking mental health can harm men’s own mental health.
Why Men Don’t Seek Help
- Disconnected from Emotions
Richard F. Levant, American Psychological Association president, states that men are so out of touch with their emotions that they do not even realize that they could even be depressed. He also states that many men are conditioned from a young age that they are not to express vulnerability or caring. As a result, when they reach adulthood they can become unaware of their emotions and often struggle how to describe them.
- The Role of Masculinity
Psychologist and masculinity researcher James Mahalik, Ph.D., that for a man to truly benefit from counseling they must admit that they need help, and must be able to openly discuss their emotions. The ability to openly discuss emotions directly conflicts with societal ideals of toughness, independence, and emotional control.
A study published in Psychology of Men and Masculinity; found that men who exhibit higher levels of traditional masculinity ideals tend to have a more negative opinion of seeking psychological help.
- Social Norms
Men often fear that they will be viewed negatively if they are not able to “tough it out” and deal with it. Men who do seek help may worry what others think. Many have cited that there is a social stigma against seeking help and are cautious about who they share their experience with.
What Can Be Done?
The best way to encourage men to seek help is to express that struggling with depression or anxiety is normal. Normalizing mental health treatment removes the social stigma and allows them to be open-minded regarding seeking treatment.
Wellspring Counseling: A local counseling group with locations in Seattle, Bellevue, and Redmond.
Clarity Counseling Seattle: a local therapy resource to help men deal with the daily stressors in life
Man Therapy: an online resource that is stigma-free
Unsure if you may be depressed? Take a short quiz to see your risk level.
*Note: These tests are NOT an actual medical diagnosis; please visit a medical professional for a diagnosis.