June is a month that gives us a few chances to honor the men in our lives. Beyond Father’s Day (June 17 this year), the entire month of June is designated as Men’s Health Month. Each year, the health community focuses its efforts to bring awareness and education to men about health conditions that could affect males more frequently. This June, consider paying extra attention to not only the physical health of the men around you, but also the mental health.
Mental Health and Men
Both men and women can be affected by mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. However, the suicide rate for men is four times as high as the rates for women. Suicide is the 7thleading cause of death among males.
Mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorders, and eating disorders are some of the top conditions facing males throughout America. Current estimates put approximately 6 million men facing depression annually.
There are certain subsets of men who are even more likely to have mental health or substance abuse challenges. These can include elderly men, veterans, and men who identify as LGBTQ. For these particular subsets, mental health conditions can escalate quickly into self-harm or suicide without the proper counseling and support.
Challenges for Men’s Mental Health
Unfortunately, men are often underserved and underdiagnosed in regards to mental health. Due to perceived stereotypes and a general reluctance to speak about their worries, men are much less likely to seek treatment for mental health issues like substance abuse or depression than their woman counterparts. Feelings of embarrassment, or just not knowing that what they are feeling is not normal, can lead men to choose to deal with their mental health on their own. Too often, this lack of treatment can lead to substance abuse, increased disruption of daily life, or even suicide.
The mental health of men is a public health issue, and one that you can support when talking to the men in your life. Look for signs of depression or anxiety, including mood swings or isolation, and encourage him to talk about it or seek help. Once given the chance to talk to a counselor and follow a medical treatment plan, many men can enjoy a high quality of life and even help others who could be suffering as well.
If you are concerned, take a look at our list of local resources who are ready to help you or your loved one. Let’s work together to give the men in our lives the support they need to stay healthy.