Men's Health

Mental Health

Men in particular face a unique set of challenges when it comes to them managing their mental well-being, with the associated stigma (of shame and embarrassment) often preventing them from seeking help and taking action. In the US:
  • Men generally have lower levels of awareness of mental illnesses than women
  • Over 6 million men (7% of the population) are diagnosed with depression each year
  • One of the most common manifestations of mental illness is depression
  • Depression affects more than 19 million Americans every year, regardless of age, race, or gender
Are mental health issues common?
Mental health issues are very common. An estimated 26.2% of Americans ages 18 and older — about one in four adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year
 
Are there different types of mental illnesses?
Different types of mental illness have different symptoms and may require different treatments.
 
DEPRESSION              ANXIETY              PSYCHOSIS              SCHIZOPHRENIA              RESOURCES



DEPRESSION

What is depression?
Depression is more than just a low mood – it’s a serious illness. Depression affects how you think and feel about yourself. You may lose interest in work, hobbies and doing things you normally enjoy. You may lack energy, have difficulty sleeping or sleep more than usual. Some people feel anxious or irritable and find it difficult to concentrate.

The good news is, just like a physical illness, depression can be managed and effective treatments are available.

Is depression in men different?
Depression in men often doesn’t look like the typical depression of low mood, anxiety, and loss of interest, as described above. Depressed men may become more irritable or angry. Their behavior can be hostile, aggressive or even abusive. Often men will engage in risky activities, such as drunk driving or risky sexual encounters. Men will often turn to abusing alcohol or drugs. Men may also become over-involved at work or socially isolated. 
 
Men aren’t always good about discussing their feelings, especially when it comes to sadness, depression or stress. Men instead act out with more work, drinking, and risk taking to numb or avoid the real problems they face. To many men, being “manly” means not admitting to any vulnerabilities or expressing emotions. It is these same qualities that prevent so many men from seeking help for their depression.

What makes a person more at risk of depression?
Some major events or situations have been linked with depression while others also contribute to increasing the risk for men:

Major Risk Factors
  • Previous experience of depression 
and/or anxiety
  • Drug and alcohol use
  • Serious medical illness (physical or mental)
  • Isolation or loneliness
  • Unemployment

Other Risk Factors
  • Stress (work / financial / life)
  • Poverty / Homelessness
  • Lack of physical exercise
  • Having a family member with depression
  • Conflict (family / political)






















It’s important to remember that each person is different and it is often a combination of factors that puts a person at risk of depression.



What are the treatments for depression?


There is a range of treatment options available depending on the type and severity of the condition. These can vary from lifestyle interventions such as alcohol avoidance and physical exercise, through to psychological and drug treatments for more severe cases. The most important first step is to talk to someone about your feelings, stress or concerns. Whether it’s your doctor, your family, your friends, a religious leader, or an anonymous person on a support line– you need to trust someone else and not manage it alone.

Who can help?


Different health professionals provide different types of services, treatments and assistance to help people on the road to recovery. It’s very important to find the right mental health professional to suit your individual needs.



Your doctor is someone with whom you can discuss your concerns in the first instance. They will be able to provide you further information along with guidance and advice about treatment options.


Tips to stay mentally healthy
Talk to your doctor. There are many underlying causes of depression and a doctor can guide you to the proper course of treatment whether that is therapy, medication or lifestyle change.
  • Eat a nutritious and balanced diet
  • Manage stress
  • Keep a regular sleep cycle
  • Stay active and exercise regularly
  • Participate in your favorite activities
  • Spend time with friends and loved ones


ANXIETY

What is anxiety?
Anxiety is more than just feeling stressed or worried. While stress and anxious feelings are a common response to a situation where a person feels under pressure, it usually passes once the stressful situation has passed, or ‘stressor’ is removed.
 
Anxiety is when these anxious feelings don't subside. Anxiety is when these feelings are ongoing and exist without any particular reason or cause. It’s a serious condition that makes it hard for a person to cope with daily life. We all feel anxious from time to time, but for a person experiencing anxiety, these feelings cannot be easily controlled.
 
Is anxiety common? 
Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental illnesses in America. 
 
What causes anxiety? 
Often, it’s a combination of factors that can lead to a person developing anxiety. Some triggers include: 
  • Family history of anxiety or mental health problems
  • Stressful life events
  • Physical health problems
  • Heavy or long-term use of substances such as alcohol, cannabis, amphetamines or sedatives
  • Personality factors – some research suggests certain personality traits are more likely to have anxiety. 
 
Are there different types of anxiety? 
Symptoms of anxiety can often develop gradually over time. Given that we all experience some anxiety, it can be hard to know how much is too much. In order to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, the condition must have a disabling impact on the person’s life. There are many types of anxiety including: 
  • Social phobia: characterized by an intense fear of criticism, being embarrassed or humiliated even just in common everyday situations. 
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): a person has excessive, uncontrollable, and irrational worry about everyday things, occurring most days over a period of six or more months.
  • Specific phobias: a person feels very fearful about a particular object or situation and may go to great lengths to avoid what they fear. 
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): a person has ongoing unwanted/intrusive thoughts and fears that cause anxiety. Although the person may acknowledge these thoughts as silly, they find themselves trying to relieve their anxiety by carrying out certain behaviors or rituals. 
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): can occur after a person experiences a traumatic event such as but not limited to war, assault, accident or disaster. 
  • Panic disorder: a person experiences panic attacks, which are intense, overwhelming and often uncontrollable feelings of psychological distress combined with a range of physical symptoms. 
 
What types of treatment are available for anxiety? 
As with depression, there are many health professionals and services available to help with information, treatment and support, and there are many things that people with anxiety can do to help themselves under the guidance of a professional. 
 
The type of treatment will depend on the anxiety being experienced with the aim of helping the person learn how to control the condition – so that it does not control them
 
Who can help? 
Different health professionals provide different types of services, treatments and assistance to help people on the road to recovery. It’s very important to find the right mental health professional to suit your individual needs.
 
A doctor is a good person with whom you can discuss your concerns in the first instance. They will be able to provide you further information along with guidance and advice about treatment options
 


PSYCHOSIS

There is a group of illnesses, which disrupt the functioning of the brain so much they cause a condition called psychosis. When someone experiences psychosis they are unable to distinguish what is real — there is a loss of contact with reality. Most people are able to recover from an episode of psychosis. The causes of psychosis are not fully understood. It is probable that some people are born with a predisposition to develop this kind of illness, and that certain things — for example, stress or use of drugs such as marijuana, LSD or speed — can trigger their first episode. Most of these will be first affected in their late teens and early twenties.
 
Among symptoms doctors look for are:
  • Confused thinking
    When acutely ill, people with psychotic symptoms experience disordered thinking. The everyday thoughts that let us live our daily lives become confused and don’t join up properly.
  • Delusions
    A delusion is a false belief held by a person that is not held by others of the same cultural background.
  • Hallucinations
    The person sees, hears, feels, smells or tastes something that is not actually there. The hallucination is often of disembodied voices that no one else can hear.
Treatment can do much to reduce and even eliminate the symptoms. Treatment should generally include a combination of medication and community support. Both are usually essential for the best outcome
 
Who can help? 
Different health professionals provide different types of services, treatments and assistance to help people on the road to recovery. It’s very important to find the right mental health professional to suit your individual needs.
 
A doctor is a good person with whom you can discuss your concerns in the first instance. They will be able to provide you further information along with guidance and advice about treatment options. 



SCHIZOPHRENIA

Schizophrenia is a medical condition that affects the normal functioning of the brain, interfering with a person’s ability to think, feel and act. Treatment helps relieve many symptoms of schizophrenia, some recover completely, and, with time, some find that their symptoms improve. About one percent of Americans have this illness. Most of these will be first affected in their late teens and early twenties.
 
People with schizophrenia experience symptoms that may include:
  • Confused thinking
    When acutely ill, people with psychotic symptoms experience disordered thinking. The everyday thoughts that let us live our daily lives become confused and don’t join up properly.
  • Delusions
    A delusion is a false belief held by a person that is not held by others of the same cultural background.
  • Hallucinations
    The person sees, hears, feels, smells or tastes something that is not actually there. The hallucination is often of disembodied voices that no one else can hear.
Treatment can do much to reduce and even eliminate the symptoms. Treatment should generally include a combination of medication and community support. Both are usually essential for the best outcome.
 
Who can help? 
Different health professionals provide different types of services, treatments and assistance to help people on the road to recovery. It’s very important to find the right mental health professional to suit your individual needs.
 
A doctor is a good person with whom you can discuss your concerns in the first instance. They will be able to provide you further information along with guidance and advice about treatment options.



RESOURCES

Things to remember
  • Mental health issues are common and treatable
  • Take action early – the sooner the better
  • Mental health issues are illnesses, not weaknesses, and people shouldn’t feel ashamed to talk about them and take action
  • By talking about mental illnesses, we can help raise awareness and reduce the stigma.

Recommended Websites
Mental Health America strives to educate the general public about the realities of mental health and mental illness. This is a valuable resource for learning about different types of mental illness and how to seek treatment.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The American Psychiatric Association, founded in 1844, is the world’s largest psychiatric organization. It is a medical specialty society representing more than 33,000 psychiatric physicians from the United States and around the world.
The National Institute of Mental Health strives to transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses through basic and clinical research, paving the way for prevention, recovery, and cure.





























 
Visit Men’s Health Resources for Movember’s sources, or email: info.us@movember.com