“Real Men Don’t Cry” – A Mental Health Myth

depressed manThe tough guy persona is a familiar one on television and the movie screen, but it’s unrealistic for men to think they can just “shake it off” when confronted with emotional situations.

More than 6 million men in the United States suffer from depression each year, says Ray Redick, a licensed clinical professional counselor with Memorial Counseling Associates.

Three major causes of male depression are:

  • Genes
  • Hormones
  • Stress

Redick says men often don’t recognize or admit they’re depressed, and they are less likely than women to seek help for depression.

“The primary cause of depression in men I see in my practice is when they feel a sense of failure in their lives,” he says. “They have failed in their relationships or at work. They feel they are not measuring up to their own expectations and the expectations others may have of them.”

Not all men experience depression in the same way. Here are signs to look for.

  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Acting out in risky behaviors
  • Trying to self-medicate by abusing drugs and alcohol

If you know someone who might be struggling, suggest they talk to their primary care provider or a mental health professional. They can also utilize a free online screening to assess emotional well being available at MemorialCounselingAssociates.org. The online screening tool is anonymous and asks a series of questions about a person’s mood. After completing the self-assessment, you will receive immediate feedback about your score and information about local resources and articles about mental health and well being.