Statistics show that men are at a higher risk of experiencing mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and suicide. However, the data may not accurately represent the extent of the issue due to men’s tendencies to bottle up their emotions and avoid seeking medical help. It is essential to understand that mental health issues are prevalent in men and likely more significant than the statistics suggest.
Depression is a common mood disorder that affects both men and women. It is characterized by symptoms such as extreme sadness, hopelessness, and frequent suicidal thoughts. Several factors can cause depression, including genetics, brain chemistry abnormalities, substance abuse, environmental and situational factors, sedentary lifestyle, and side effects of certain medications.
The highest rates of suicide occur in middle-aged white males, accounting for almost 70% of deaths by suicide. Men are 3.63% more likely to die by suicide than women, and suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. However, the number of suicide attempts is even more staggering, with an estimated 1.3 million suicide attempts in the US alone in 2019. It is likely that many of these attempts and unverified cases are men.
To improve the rate of suicide, men must feel comfortable expressing their feelings and seeking help. Mental health awareness and initiatives aimed at breaking the stigma surrounding mental health conditions can help prevent suicide and improve treatment outcomes.
Antidepressant treatments have proven effective in treating depression in both men and women. Treatment typically requires evaluation by a mental health professional to identify the underlying cause of depression and may involve addressing triggers such as substance abuse. Antidepressant medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can help elevate mood and decrease anxiety by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. Commonly prescribed SSRIs include Prozac, Celexa, Zoloft, Paxil, and Lexapro.
In mild cases of depression, lifestyle changes such as exercise, diet, and sleep can help manage symptoms. More complex cases may require psychiatric treatment and therapy or admission to a psychiatric facility.
It is crucial to seek help immediately if experiencing depression or suicidal thoughts. Friends and family of those with these conditions must understand that men may downplay symptoms and provide strong support. Resources such as the National Suicide Prevention Line (1-800-273-8255) can also provide assistance.
While the conversation surrounding mental health has grown in recent years, more efforts are necessary to improve the treatment of mental health conditions, especially in men. Building a support system, seeking professional help, and adhering to prescribed treatments can help manage and treat depression and other mental health conditions effectively.