“If you add loneliness to depression, you really are in a world of… appalling pain.” – Stephen Fry
Men are beginning to seek more help through their GP's and visit therapists more than they were before. A stigma still remains however around admitting to suffering from a mental health problem which creates further isolation and often a sense of hopelessness and despair. Suicide rates have shown that men are three to four times more likely to commit suicide than women. We need to consider why that is, and what we can do to address it.
Possible reasons for higher rates of male suicide include:
- Men are less likely than women to talk about their feelings – they tend to isolate themselves.
- Men are less likely to seek professional help (e.g. counselling, therapy, medication) than women.
- Men have higher rates of drug and alcohol misuse than women, and are much more likely to use this to mask their symptoms of depression.
- They demonstrate their feelings externally (e.g. shouting, getting angry) and close things off internally (e.g. “I’m fine”)
- Social ideals and pressures of masculinity demands that men “Stay strong” or, here’s a good one, “man up”.
It must be recognised and understood that men too are victims of domestic violence, sexual violence such as rape, and violence and abuse from other men. It is all too overlooked; as a society we often think of women as being more vulnerable to these things, especially the domestic and sexual violence, but this is not the case. It is possible that men simply do not report the incidents as often, because they are maybe embarrassed or ashamed.
What can we do about this?
Men’s Minds Matter is an organisation that hopes to better raise awareness of male problems and mental health issues, and also to provide support for those and the families of those who are affected. They have been “working closely with other psychologists, professionals and organisations to develop ideas on how to improve the psychological wellbeing of men and boys” says the Director of Men’s Minds Matter, Dr Luke Sullivan. Through this, they have begun The Men’s Institute, which as well as being very useful is another step to recognising that men need this support, as well as women do.
If would like more information about this matter or no someone who might benefit from it, visit http://www.mensmindsmatter.com/ or http://www.mensmindsmatter.com/the-mens-institute.html for resources and support.
Other organisations such as Mind http://www.mind.org.uk/ and Time to Change http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/ will also be useful, and also Terry Real’s book, “I don't Want to Talk About it: The Secret Legacy of Male Depression” is a very good and helpful read.
Considering visiting your GP or speaking to a Therapist might also help you to start resolving some of your underlying issues and gain more support. For more information on our services, visit www.lotus-therapeutics.com.