Gamez: It’s time to talk about men’s mental health in America
According to mental health experts, American men are in crisis, and it’s time we talked about it more openly.
We have to teach men to understand that reaching out for help is not a sign of weakness, but more like a sign of bravery and strength.
The New York Times reports, “Mental health experts have long known that while women have nearly twice the rate of depression diagnoses, men are much more likely to die by suicide, drug overdose, and alcohol-related deaths.”
It’s also worth noting that almost 80% of suicide-related cases are among men over the age of 75, including those who work in the blue-collar job sector.
Even with men at higher risk of suicide because of mental illness, women are more likely to reach out for help.
“In 2020, 15 percent of men reported receiving either psychotropic medications or therapy in the past year compared with 26 percent of women,” according to the New York Times.
This gap between women and men is pretty significant and leaves doctors and providers perplexed.
Interestingly enough, “Research has found that men who exhibit traditional stereotypes of masculinity, such as stoicism and self-reliance, are even less likely to ask for help,” the New York Times reported.
“Symptoms of depression in men can be physiological, such as a racing heart, digestive issues, or headaches. Males may be ‘more likely to see their doctor about physical symptoms than emotional symptoms,’ says the National Institute of Mental Health Trusted Source.
Forbes magazine reported that “92% of CEO’s report that their companies have increased focus on mental health as a result of the pandemic.” Also, a lot of companies now offer EAP Employee Assistance programs, where employees can call a number and speak to someone confidentially.
Therapists and online counseling companies are marketing to men by using prominent male spokespersons such as Olympic swimmere Michael Phelps for Talkspace.
Men and women alike need to know that it’s okay to not be okay.
If you are someone you know is experiencing depression or suicidal thoughts, please reach out for help. The national suicide prevention lifeline is 988.