Both men and women of any age can suffer from mental health disorders. However, it’s much harder to recognize mental health issues in men due to the stigma of masculinity.
Over the years, gender roles for men suggest that to be tough is to be ‘manly’. As a result, men are more presumably to die by suicide than women. Why? Because opening up or becoming vulnerable contradicts the imposed societal roles for men.
That is why we have come up with this post to spread awareness of men and mental health issues. So if you think that you or a loved one is suffering from mental health issues, this is your first step to seeking treatment. Along with learning about the mental health issues in men, this post will provide advice for men.
Why Is Awareness on Mental Health for Men Important?
To address a mental health issue, the first step is awareness or mental health education. Men should be mindful of the symptoms of mental illness and when to seek help. Like any other disease, early detection and treatment are the solution to a productive life and, hopefully, a full recovery.
Men should be aware that taking care of their mental health is not a sign of weakness in their masculinity. Instead, taking care of your mental health is a sign that you want to be present for your family and friends. This is also a wake-up call on how to give your support to a loved one you think might be suffering from a mental illness.
What Causes Mental Illness Among Men?
By knowing what causes mental illness in men, you should be more aware if a friend, loved one, or someone you know is going through a rough mental state. The gender stereotype among men to be tough and brave causes them not to seek help. But when you see these causes of mental illness in men, it’s something that can’t be denied.
- Genes and Family History: Genetics plays a role in mental health illness for both men and women. So if you have an uncle, cousin, or grandfather who had a mental health problem, this suggests potential roots.
- Physical Problems or Sickness: Men who suffer from illness, especially affecting their way of living, can cause mental health problems (e.g., cancer, amputated limb, erectile dysfunction).
- Relationship Problems: A bad marriage, divorce, or being stuck in an abusive relationship may be a cause of mental health illness among men.
- Employment Problems: If a man gets fired from his job, did not get that promotion, closed his business, or is unhappy about his career, it can be a cause of mental problems too.
- Alcohol and Substance Abuse: Those who abuse illegal drugs or alcohol are at risk of developing mental health problems. It may also be a sign that a person is experiencing depression and is just covering it by abusing alcohol or illegal drugs.
- Chemical Imbalances of the Brain: Factors such as aging, diseases, injury, chronic stress, or poor nutrition may lead to a chemical imbalance in a person. An example is Schizophrenia – where chemical or neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, and glutamate are imbalanced.
- Traumatic Experiences: Men who had a traumatic life experience are at risk of developing a mental disorder. An example is men who were in combat who experiences post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
What Are the Common Mental Health Conditions in Men?
Some men are embarrassed to get help and mental treatment because they are concerned about what other people might think about them. But here’s something we should be really worried about:
- The common mental health conditions in men are Post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, bipolar, eating disorder, and Schizophrenia.
- Men are more likely to commit suicide than women.
- Six million men in the United States suffer from depression every year.
- More men are dying due to alcohol abuse disorders (e.g., cirrhosis) as compared to women.
- Men are most likely to abuse drugs compared to women.
- Men are less likely to access therapy as compared to women.
- Many men with undiagnosed mental health conditions are more likely to inflict self-harm or violence towards others.
Why Do Men Not Talk About Their Mental Health?
As mentioned earlier, men do not seek help for their mental health because they see it as a sign of weakness. The expectations of society and gender roles play a part in this stigma. There are expectations for men to be strong and dominant as the head of the household.
Men do not speak about their emotions openly. It is part of a man’s nature to keep their problems to themselves, even to their partners. That is why awareness is important, so men will know that seeking help for their mental welfare is necessary.
When Do I Seek Help for My Mental Health?
You should observe signs to know that it’s time to seek help for your mental health. It may be as simple as a change in mood or unsatisfactory work performance.
These are the signs that indicate that a man needs to seek treatment options for their mental health:
- Weight changes
- Loss of interest in things previously enjoyed
- Poor work performance
- Physical symptoms like stomach ache and headache
- Symptoms of depression: feelings of sadness or hopelessness
- Alcohol or substance abuse
- Changes in sleeping and eating patterns
- Social withdrawal
Observe at least one of these symptoms and try to engage your loved one in an open conversation. Please consult with a healthcare provider before it’s too late.
Advice for Men for a Better Mental Health
If you detect mental illness signs, you can take mental health screening tests online to find clarity to what you’re going through. Mental illnesses are like any other health conditions, it needs treatment, and there’s nothing to be ashamed about. Here is some friendly advice you can do:
- Open Communication: Share your problems or what you feel with family, friends, or support groups. No man is an island, and your family and friends can help you find a solution to your problem.
- Health and Wellness: To combat mental illness, regular exercise and healthy eating are necessary. According to a Harvard study, exercise is the all-natural mental health treatment for depression.
- Seek Counseling: Therapies with mental health professionals are the best option to deal with mental illness and suicide prevention. You can tell your therapist about anything you feel, what you’re going through, or any symptom you’re having.
Men are more likely to seek mental health treatment if it is accessible and convenient. Here at Kentucky Counseling Center, you can avail online screening and telehealth sessions. Isn’t it convenient to have to counsel just a chat or call away?