Mental health, specifically depression and anxiety, represents one area that men and women handle differently. According to Psychology Today, many researchers have stated that there is a “silent crisis in men’s mental health.” While women are more likely to seek help for mental health issues, evidence suggests that men are significantly less likely to use mental health services in response to a mental health issue.
Why are women are more likely to reach out for help or talk to loved ones while men keep silent? One thought might be that men feel pressure to support their families, be the breadwinner, and remain masculine, men are more reluctant to pursue mental health assistance or treatment. The problem is that mental health issues in men trigger substance abuse and can even lead to suicide. According to Mental Health Magazine, “9 percent of men experience depression on a daily basis. That’s more than 6 million men.” More than four times as many men die by suicide as opposed to woman.
Anthony Bourdain’s recent suicide sheds light on this issue. How could a man with a seemingly perfect life (constant travel to interesting places to try gourmet food) led to him to take his own life? If he had reached out for help or showed signs of depression to loved ones, could it have changed his fate?
Alcohol dependency affects one in five men at some point in their lives, according to Mental Health America. Substance abuse plays a role in mental health. In past interviews, Bourdain admitted he was an “unhappy soul” with a past of heroin and crack addiction issues. If Bourdain’s issues were in the open, many may be wondering, why did he not receive help? More importantly, how can you help a loved one you suspect is dealing with substance abuse issues that may overlap with mental health issues such as depression or anxiety?
The first, and easiest, step is noticing the problem. You may notice a drop in social interactions, loneliness, stress or anxiety in your male loved one. The next, and hardest, step is convincing them to seek help. As a society, we need to remove the stigma associated with mental help. Do your best to convince your loved one that their depression or anxiety is a medical condition and not a sign of weakness that makes him less of a person. The main goal is to help your male loved one see they are valued and life is worth living.
While getting your loved one to seek help is the hardest part, remember it’s a process not an end result. Dealing with depression and anxiety are often issues that plague people for life, which are not easily cured. Issues with substance abuse can be similar, but getting help to end the habit is paramount to attaining stronger mental health.
Horizon Health is committed with a variety of outpatient, detox, crisis stabilization and rehabilitation services. If you feel a loved one is experiencing mental health issues, contact Horizon today at 831-1800.