Men’s mental health does not receive as much attention as it deserves. While men and women both suffer from mental health issues, men are often more inclined to keep quiet about their mental health struggles. There is often a stigma surrounding male mental health, and this stigma detracts from some men receiving the mental health care that they need and deserve.
In the spirit of Men’s Mental Health Month, we will discuss men’s mental health topics in the article below. We will detail common signs of male mental health issues, common mental health struggles among men, and treatment options that are available for men. The more that people talk about men’s mental health, the less stigma there will be that hinders men from seeking mental health treatment.
What are the signs of male mental health issues?
While symptoms vary by person and mental health issue, some common signs may indicate a man is suffering from unmet mental health needs. The most common signs of mental health issues have to do with behavioral changes. Some men who experience mental health difficulties may have increased feelings of anger, irritability, stress, or worry. Other behavioral changes associated with poor mental health among men include feelings of sadness, decreased motivation, and difficulty concentrating.
Signs of mental health issues can also include physical symptoms, such as unexplained headaches, changes in sleeping patterns, and changes in appetite. Changes in sleep and appetite do not have to be in one direction. Just like fewer sleep hours and a weaker appetite can indicate mental health issues, a fluctuation towards more hours of sleep and a stronger appetite can also indicate mental health issues. Sometimes a man’s observable behaviors - such as engaging in substance abuse, participating in dangerous activities, or general restlessness - can also be a sign of underlying struggle with mental health.
Of course, noticing any of the above behaviors and changes does not guarantee that the man suffers from a mental health issue. Instead, one should treat the above behaviors and changes as flags that may warrant further investigation. If you are concerned about your or a loved one’s mental health, a behavioral health specialist can help you review and make sense of any possible symptoms.
Which mental health issues affect men?
Men and women can both experience mental health issues, and many mental health issues to not have significant differences across the sexes. However, there are some common themes in mental health that are particular to men.
First, men are more likely than women to engage in substance abuse to cope with poor mental health, particularly surrounding depression. This behavior is in part due to the significant stigma surrounding men’s mental health. Many times when men face depression, they may turn to substance abuse rather than to the help of a trained mental health professional. Unfortunately, such behavior does not address the underlying mental health problem, which will typically only worsen if left untreated.
Another significant trend in men’s mental health is that men are more likely to die from suicide than are women. Some estimates show that the male suicide rate is 3.5 times higher than among females. Risk factors for suicide among men include social isolation, unemployment, breakdowns in relationships, and the loss of a loved one. Traditional male social pressures exacerbate those risk factors, making men more likely to self-treat and keep quiet about mental health struggles that they experience. If you or a loved one has thoughts of suicide, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 for help 24/7. As always, if you or a loved one is in immediate danger, please call 911.
Another common theme in men’s mental health is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), particularly among veterans. PTSD can manifest as recurring distressing memories of trauma, negative trains of thought, and constantly being on guard. While a similar percentage of men and women veterans experience PTSD, there are more male veterans than female veterans. As a result, people often consider PTSD among veterans to be a topic in men’s mental health primarily.
How can Aurora Santa Rosa help?
If you, a family member, or a loved one struggles with mental health, Aurora Santa Rosais here to help. We offer a variety of programs for men’s mental health issues, including adult inpatient treatment and intensive outpatient programs for the greater Santa Rosa, CA community. Also, know that we have adapted many of our treatment programs so that patients can maintain social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic and still receive the treatment they need.
To see if Aurora Santa Rosa is right for you, reach out to our staff anytime at (877) 717-0085. We are happy to help answer questions and help you determine if Aurora Santa Rosa is right for your or a loved one’s situation. You can also access our >mental health resources page for a variety of useful resources.