Lower rates of self-reporting among men may be attributable to a number of factors, including the stigma that’s still attached to the issue of mental health.
Mental health issues can affect all aspects of a person’s life, and if left untreated, these issues can have grave consequences. Men are not immune to those consequences. In fact, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates age-adjusted suicide rates are substantially higher among men than women. Among men, that rate is 14 per 100,000, which is more than twice as high as the rate among women (6.1 per 100,000).
There’s no formula to identify which men will develop a mental health issue or which condition they might experience. But it’s worth noting some of the more common mental health issues and equally important that all men recognize these issues can affect any man at any time.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notes that anxiety disorders affect roughly 20 percent of the adult population in the United States each year. Similarly, Statistics Canada notes that a screening in spring 2021 found that 15 percent of Canadians screened positive for generalized anxiety disorder. Anxiety is an umbrella term that alludes to a number of issues that each produce their own symptoms and side effects, but the DHHS notes that anxiety disorders are marked by feelings of fear and uncertainty that interfere with everyday activities. These feelings persist for six months or more and can increase a person’s risk for heart disease, diabetes, substance abuse, and depression.
The World Health Organization reports that roughly 5 percent of the global adult population suffers from depression. Depression is more than the feelings of sadness that everyone experiences from time to time. The National Institute of Mental Health notes that depression produces persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety or an “empty” mood. Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism are some additional characteristics of depression. It’s important to recognize that these symptoms must be persistent. Symptoms that persist for at least two weeks and interfere with a person’s ability to work, sleep, study, and eat may indicate major depression, while less severe symptoms that last for at least two years suggest the presence of persistent depressive disorder.
Substance Use Disorder
The National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics has identified substance use disorder as a public health emergency. Statistics support that assertion, as data from the National Center for Health Statistics indicates more than 20 million Americans ages 12 and over are affected by a substance use disorder. Statistics Canada indicates that around six million Canadians will meet the criteria for addiction in their lifetime. Though anyone, including children, can develop substance use disorder, a 2016 report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration indicated that men have higher rates of use or dependence on illicit drugs and alcohol than women. The National Institutes of Health notes that substance use disorder affects a person’s brain and behavior, which makes them incapable of controlling their use of substances, including medication and alcohol.
Men are no less vulnerable to mental health issues than women.
If you are in crisis or suspect someone is in crisis reach out to these helpful resources:
- Emergency 911
- Mental Health Helpline 1-877-303-2642
- Health Link 811
- Help In Tough Times
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