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June is a great month for men of all ages to take time to reflect on their health and wellbeing, as it is Men’s Health Month. There are a number of health issues impacting men such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer, but this blog post will focus on mental health issues affecting men, particularly depression and suicide.
Suicide is a lethal symptom of depression and should not be taken lightly. Although women tend to have higher rates of depression, men are still susceptible to experiencing its debilitating symptoms. In fact, the CDC reported that between 2009 and 2012, 5.8% men ages 18-39, 7.2% men ages 40-59, and 3.4% men over 60 years old experienced moderate to severe symptoms of depression. More importantly, suicide was the tenth leading cause of death for all ages in 2010 and men comprised 79% of all US suicides according to a CDC suicide data sheet; in addition, the CDC reported in the same data sheet that men are four times more likely to commit suicide than women. Sadly, men, like most Americans (about 65%), do not seek out treatment with a mental health professional for severe depressive symptoms, which include suicidal thoughts. People suffering from depression also tend to give less attention to their medical needs, which can lead to medical complications or the development of chronic illnesses. If that doesn’t give you something to think about then consider the impact your health can have on others, particularly your family.
Thoughts that no one cares often accompanies feelings of depression and thoughts of suicide. But, that is likely not the case since most people experiencing depression have family members who are deeply concerned for them and would be devastated if they committed suicide. Children and partners are often the most affected but parents, grandparents, extended family, and friends would also suffer tremendously at the loss of a loved one.
Father’s Day falls on Sunday, June 21st, and can act as a annual reminder for the important role that men have in families, especially to their children. If you are experiencing any of the warning signs of depression (summarized below), please seek out a mental health professional that can help you. Depression is a treatable disease.
Signs of depression:
- Feelings of sadness nearly every day of the week
- Feelings of hopelessness and pessimism
- Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, and helplessness
- Anhedonia (loss of pleasure in activities one used to love to do)
- Problems sleeping either too much or too little
- Appetite or weight changes
- Difficulty concentrating and focusing
- Decreased energy and feelings of fatigue
- Thoughts of suicide
I have also included some men’s health resources that can help you connect to more information about these issues or to a mental health professional.
Men’s Health Resources:
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is a nationwide suicide prevention organization
- Movember Foundation is a global charity raising funds and awareness
- Men’s Health Network is a national non-profit awareness and prevention organization
- American Psychological Association for addition information and resources
- Psychology Today to find a local mental health provider
My colleagues and I at Intuition Wellness Center specialize in counseling children, teens, and families. We have clinicians who specialize in treating depression. If you believe you or someone you love could benefit from our services, we are here to help. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.
Written by Yoendry Torres, PsyD, Clinical Psychologist