Depression in men can be often overlooked. Men tend to believe that they have to be strong and in control of their emotions at all times and as a result find it difficult to talk about their feelings even to loved ones. When men feel overwhelmed by despair they tend to deny it or cover it up by drinking too much, behaving recklessly, or with anger. But depression in men is a common condition and the first step to improving is to understand there’s no reason to feel ashamed. Then you can face the challenge head on and start working to feel better.
Depression is not a sign of emotional weakness or not being ‘manly’. It is a condition that affects millions of men of all ages and backgrounds and can be treated. It’s normal to feel down from time to time—dips in mood are a normal reaction to losses, setbacks or disappointments in life. However if intense feelings of despair and hopelessness take hold of you and interfere with work, family or your ability to enjoy life, you may be suffering from depression. If you have symptoms such as back pain, headaches, difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much or dark thoughts for example you may be feeling depressed.
Men suffering from depression are four times more likely to commit suicide than women. It’s very important for any man to seek help with depression before feelings of despair become feelings of suicide. Therefore seek help by telling a loved one or going to see your doctor who may advise a few sessions of counselling.
Interesting facts relating to the Movember campaign on creating awareness of men’s mental health:
- 1 IN 4 PEOPLE in the UK will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year
- Mixed anxiety and depression is the MOST COMMON MENTAL DISORDER in Britain
- Men are less likely to have been treated for a mental health problem than women (17% compared to 29%). This could be because, when asked, women are more likely to report symptoms of common mental health problems
- SUICIDES RATES show that British men are three times as likely to die by suicide than British women
- SELF-HARM STATISTICS for the UK show one of the highest rates in Europe: 400 per 100,000 population
- Men have a 14% higher risk of developing cancer than women and a 37% higher risk of dying from it
- 25% of men in the UK were categorised as obese in 2011 compared to 13% of men in 1993
- Men are twice as likely as women to abuse or become dependent on alcohol
- 6% of men in the UK are “at risk” drinkers – someone who drinks more than 51 units a week
- lack of awareness and understanding of the health issues men face
- men not openly discussing their health and how they’re feeling
- reluctance to take action when men don’t feel physically or mentally well
- men engaging in risky activities that threaten their health
- stigmas surrounding mental health
So if you have a member of your family or you recognise symptoms of depression in yourself pick the phone up or email for help. Let’s look at staying healthy and increasing emotional wellbeing and self confidence.