Why Men Don’t Seek Help For Mental Health Issues and What Can Be Done About It

In light of Men’s Health Week we will be discussing mental health in men. According to American Psychological Association, men are less likely than women to seek mental health help. This is how you can help:

The Research:

Dozens of studies over the last several decades have determined that men regardless of age and ethnicity, men are less likely than women to seek help for all sorts of mental health issues including depression, substance abuse and stressful life events. The studies also noticed that men in general encountered the aforementioned issues at the same or greater rates as women. 

According to the American Psychological Association, “In a 1993 study published in Psychotherapy (Vol. 30, No. 4, pages 546-553), for example, psychologist John Vessey, PhD, reviewed several epidemiologic surveys and found that a full two-thirds of mental health outpatient visits were made by women. ‘This inability, reluctance or straight-up unwillingness to get help can harm men’s own mental and physical health, and can make life more difficult for their friends and families,’ says Berger.”

According to the site, “men may not seek out mental health care because they don’t feel like they need help. Being out of touch with their emotions is so common among men, that the APA President and Nova Southeastern University psychologist Ronald F. Levant, EdD, have coined the term ‘normative male alexithymia’–literally ‘without words for emotions’ to describe this phenomenon. Men who cannot put into words what they are feeling generally have a harder time admitting to themselves and others that they are depressed, for example.”

The Reason:

According to the site, boys have a harder time understanding or knowing they have emotions because they are taught that vulnerability and caring are not things they should express. “They learn to suppress their emotional responses–like crying or even sad facial expressions–so much that, by the time they are adults, they are genuinely unaware of their emotions and how to describe them in words,” according to the American Psychological Association.

What Can Be Done:

By increasing awareness, the likelihood that men seeking help for mental health issues will be seen as more normal also increases. In recent years, the National Institute of Mental Health have conducted several campaigns to help increase awareness of depression among men and urge them to seek help if needed.

For the full article, read here.