When it comes to mental health, men don’t always seek help when they need it. But maybe they should.
June is Men’s Mental Health Month, so here are the most common mental health conditions men experience, the symptoms that may differ in men vs. women and what resources are available for those seeking treatment options.
Common mental health conditions in men
According to Mental Health America, the most common men’s mental health conditions are:
- Depression and suicide
- Bipolar disorder
- Eating disorders
- Psychosis and schizophrenia
- Substance abuse
“It’s a sign of strength to talk about these issues with your health care provider, counselor or a supportive family member or friend,” Piedmont Healthcare family medicine physician Dr. Siraj Abdullah said in a recent story. “As men, we tend to let stress build up until it affects our mental and physical health. Talking about your mental health is a way to take care of your body.”
How men’s mental health symptoms may show up differently from women
The reasons that mental health symptoms can be different for men and women are complex, according to Kathryn McHugh, chief of psychology at McLean Hospital in Boston.
She noted in an article that “biology is not the only piece of the puzzle. There are also many social and cultural factors that play a role in mental health and wellness, such as social role expectations, discrimination and violence.”
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America states that the main mental health symptoms in men that may be different from those found in women are:
- Abuse or misuse of drugs or alcohol
- Noticeable changes in mood, appetite or energy levels
- Violent, controlling or abusive behavior
- Digestive issues, headaches and pain
- Escaping into work, sports or other distracting behavior
Men with depression are also more likely than women to report symptoms of fatigue and loss of interest in work or hobbies, according to Mental Health America.
Men and suicide
Men are particularly susceptible to suicide. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says men are four times more likely to commit suicide than women. And gay and bisexual men under the age of 25 are at a higher risk for attempting suicide than the general male population, according to Mental Health America.
The Suicide Prevention Resource Center notes that one of the reasons for higher male suicide rates is that men are less likely to get behavioral health care than women. The center suggests getting help before a mental health crisis occurs. This can include:
- Seeking behavioral health care, such as seeing a therapist
- Connecting to family, friends, community and social organizations
- Learning life skills like problem-solving and strategies for adapting to change
- Engaging with spiritual, religious or other belief practices that discourage suicide
Men’s mental health resources: How to get help
The American Psychological Association offers a database of thousands of therapists. Just put in your zip code, provider name or practice area. Once the results show up, you can sort the psychologists by a variety of categories, such as gender and treatment methods.
If you’re looking for a men’s mental health hotline to discuss your issues confidentially at no charge, the Mental Health Hotline provides a toll-free number with counselors on standby 24/7. The organization also lists several condition-specific hotlines for health issues such as anxiety, depression, PTSD and more — plus links to helpful resources on these conditions.
This website is actually administered by multiple agencies, including the Colorado Department of Public Health. It combines helpful mental health techniques and quizzes with humor and a uniquely human touch. There’s an online peer chat, 20-point head inspection and a worried about someone page to help loved ones of men who may be experiencing mental health issues.
Multicultural care meets mutual aid at Therapy for Black Men, where the coaches and counselors strive to offer free or discounted services to Black men with mental health concerns. You can meet in person or online for a session, and there’s also a host of articles and social resources, including community organizations aimed at helping your mental health thrive.
Several medications may be prescribed by your doctor to help you balance your mental health. According to the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, these include:
- Anti-anxiety medications
- Mood stabilizers
If you’re experiencing a mental health crisis or suicidal ideation and need to talk to someone, call 988, the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. The Lifeline offers free, confidential emotional support across the United States, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.