Men, Your Mental Health Matters

Life is hard and we often get consumed by everything that’s going on. Physically, we may look okay. We may walk around smiling pretending as if we are perfectly okay when we are not. When asked how we are doing, we may respond by simply saying, “fine,” when we are actually on the verge of mentally breaking into a million pieces.

There’s stigma connected to speaking about mental health issues as if they are separate from our physical health and wellbeing. There’s especially stigma when it comes to men’s mental health.

While mental health affects men and women, men are less likely to seek and receive mental health treatment. Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and even eating disorders impact men’s health.

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

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Common symptoms of depression include:1

  • Anger, irritability, or aggressiveness
  • Feeling anxious or “on the edge”
  • Feeling sad or hopeless
  • Loss of interest in work, family, or once-pleasurable activities
  • Not being able to concentrate or remember details
  • Overeating or not eating enough
  • Physical pain, aches, headaches, digestive problems
  • Engaging in risky activities
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Turning to alcohol or drugs
  • Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts

Mental Health America has an online mental health screening tool and a list of resources based on your zip code. Remember that this is a tool and does not formally diagnose you. You must speak with a specialist for a diagnosis.

What should I do?

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Seek Treatment

The first thing that you should do if you believe that you are experiencing depression, anxiety, or another mental health condition, is seek help. Speak with your doctor and/or a mental health professional (counselor, psychologist, and/or psychiatrist).

Be open to treatment

There are several treatment options from therapy to medications. No matter what option(s) you choose, know that it may take time for you to adjust and/or feel like yourself again.

Speak with someone you trust

You should not have to suffer in silence. Speak with someone you trust about how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking. If you don’t have anyone in you’re life that you can speak with, there are options. The Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a readily available resource for you to turn to.

Find a healthy outlet

Alcohol, smoking, drugs, food…mental health conditions often trigger the need for us to numb our feelings. Instead of turning to substances that numb our feelings, it’s important that we not only get to the root of the issue, but also find a healthy outlet. Exercise, practice deep breathing, try to engage in activities that you enjoy, or try something new.

Image by Krisztina Papp from Pexels

Eat a healthy diet

Greasy and fatty food may temporarily fill that void and numb the pain, but they can also make you feel sluggish. Eating a balanced diet that includes a variety of vegetables and fruits, lean meat and fatty fish like salmon, will provide your body with nutrients that it needs as you try to fight through what you’re experiencing.

Set Goals

Start your day by setting some goals. Your goals can be as small as making your bed or taking a shower, or even going for a walk. Set goals to keep yourself busy and your mind occupied.2

No matter what issues you are facing, know that you can make it through. There is help for you and resources to meet you where you are. You are not alone.

Resources:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (1-800-799-4889)

Veterans Crisis Line                                                                                                                       

Call 1-800-273-8255/Text 838255

Crisis Text Line                                                                                                                                 

Text “Hello” to 741741

Sources:

National Institute of Mental Health. (2019). Men and Mental Health. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/men-and-mental-health/index.shtml

Mayo Clinic. (2019). Male depression: Understanding the issues. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/in-depth/male-depression/art-20046216

Mental Health America. (2020). Infographic: Mental Health for Men. Retrieved from https://www.mhanational.org/infographic-mental-health-men

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