May 1, 2019
Suicide and depression are frequently in the news, and the message that depression does not discriminate is an important one. Money and fame can’t protect against depression’s demons. That’s why mental health awareness is an essential component of Men’s Health Awareness Month in June.
Depression is one of the most common mental health issues in the world. Nearly 7% of all US adults experienced depression in 2016, and worldwide it’s the leading cause of disability. While depression is more prevalent in women, nearly 9% of men report daily feelings of depression and more than 30% have suffered from depression at some point in their lives.
Unfortunately, men are less likely to seek help and four times more likely than women to take their own lives. Also, as a result of not seeking treatment, male depression often goes undiagnosed.
In honor of Men’s Health Month, the team at Advanced Psychiatry Associates debunk three common myths that prevent men from seeking the help of a mental health professional.
Myth #1: Seeking help for depression is not masculine
From the time they’re very young, men are often taught that they should keep their feelings to themselves and shouldn’t seek help from others. These masculine norms prevent many men from talking about their feelings and seeking help in many areas of their life, including feelings of depression.
Fact: If you don’t seek help for depression, your feelings may intensify. Seeking help and getting the right treatment can help men feel more capable and therefore more masculine.
Numerous professional athletes, such as Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, NFL quarterback Terry Bradshaw, and NBA player Royce White, have come forward to talk about their mental health issues in the hopes of destigmatizing mental health disorders and encouraging men to seek help.
Myth #2: People will think less of me
Many men equate needing help with weakness. Symptoms of depression in men include anger, irritability, and loss of interest in sex. Depression can also impact your ability to work and function. These symptoms can be challenging to discuss with others. Instead of seeking help for mental health issues, men often turn to drugs and alcohol to manage their symptoms.
Fact: Depression is a common mental disorder. Getting help so that you are a stronger, more capable person for your family and friends is something that people will admire, not look down on.
By contrast, spiraling out of control or developing substance abuse issues instead of seeking help for a mental disorder is a sign of weakness.
Myth #3: Depression is something I can handle on my own
Many people feel unhappy, irritable, or angry now and then, but if these feelings last for more than a couple of weeks, you may have depression. Many men think that they can keep these feelings in check and handle them on their own. They suppress them, ignore them, or minimize them. They don’t seek help, and in the end, they suffer more.
Fact: Depression is not something that you can cure with a run around the block or a feel-good movie — and it will not go away on its own.
Depression can be a result of genetics, a chemical imbalance, a traumatic life event, or a serious illness, and a proper diagnosis by a mental health professional can lead to a personalized treatment plan that can help you enjoy life again.
If you suspect that you or a loved one is depressed, call Advanced Psychiatry Associates, treating patients in the greater Sacramento area and Folsom, California. You can also book an appointment online.