The Rise of Male Depression: Doctors Warn Masculinity Forces Men Into Loneliness
I’m not disputing this study, but I’d like to say if you were raised as I was (and I’m a woman), you get a dosage of this, too.
While my mother was fine with me going to her privately and crying on her shoulder if I was upset about anything, the rest of my family – due to my father’s influence – thinks it’s shameful and a sign of weakness to admit to experiencing negative emotions. You’re supposed to take any doubt, anxiety, fear, loneliness or whatever it is, and stuff it down and never, ever talk about it.
So, I am a woman, but my dad influenced me to be and act like a man in this regard, and it’s never made any sense to me.
But apparently, this is something most men are exposed to much more strongly or more often than most women.
As the world reels in the wake of Anthony Bourdain’s suicide, experts warn he is just one of many men whose suicides and preceding struggles with mental illness often go overlooked.
Men in the US kill themselves at 3.5-times the rate that women do but may be less likely to seek medical help or community support.
Bourdain spoke openly and often about his own depression and fight to stay sober, but his fame and fortune may well have disguised even deeper troubles.
The tragedy of his death ought to serve as a wake up call to men that their mental health is just as crucial to their survival as their physical health is, two doctors told Daily Mail Online.
…Among the leading theories for why suicide is so much more prevalent among men than women is that men are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.
Dr Jonathan Gerkin, a University of North Carolina psychiatrist who says he takes a therapist’s approach believes that our culture – particularly in the US, but worldwide – has not conditioned men to be reflective about, let alone accepting of their own emotions, and that can lead them to a profound sense of loneliness.
‘Loneliness is such an attention-grabbing feeling, and if men can’t reflect and respond to that, they can get caught up in trying to eliminate those feelings by minimizing, acting macho, or acting out in dangerous ways,’ including substance misuse, he says.
‘Acting out can be outward, or it can be self-directed, like taking one’s life,’ Dr Gerkin adds.
He says that this isolation happens to men who are not ‘lucky to encounter more acceptance, or be raised in a family that encourages it, or to be exposed to it in therapy.’
But by adulthood, many of these opportunities have already passed men by, or they have already been taught to seek help is seen as not a masculine behavior, leaving them unsure where to even begin when they are confronting mental health issues.
…He suggests that we all take a more subtle approach to discussing mental health with the men in our lives.
‘First, be present and, as much as you can, engage the person in whatever activities are healthy and they’re interested in at the time,’ Dr Gerkin says.
‘Through being engaged with them and sort of listening and asking permission to hear about their struggles, and just being with them might be an opportunity to share you you’ve dealt with things or suggest going to psychotherapy.’
One group has found a simple metaphor for the body to help them discuss both physical and mental health with men in the US.
You can read more of that page on Daily Mail’s site