Yes, yes november While it allows us to raise awareness of diseases that particularly affect men, it is also an opportunity to talk about an area we often associate with women: mental health. A topic that, despite devastating statistics, is invisible among humans.
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(on video) Depression, symptoms and treatment? Depression is becoming a common disease, which should not happen…
Could men’s mental health be a public health issue? In 2016, a team of Canadian researchers sounded the alarm, pointing to dramatic data put forward by other studies: in Canada, men seek advice from psychologists and psychiatrists less than women, they are half as likely to be diagnosed with depression, But they commit suicide four times more! A phenomenon that does not spare France: counted in the latest study of the National Suicide Observatory “11,210 deaths by suicide, 75% of which are men” ,
Different warning signs of depression in men and women
One of the main factors explaining this situation is the lack of awareness of depression in men, which does not manifest itself as often as in women. Thus, the first symptoms of male depression often include “Irritability, anger, hostile, aggressive, abusive behavior, substance abuse, and escape behavior (for example, excessive work involvement)”Researchers explained in detail in a study published in 2011 Can Fam Physician, They appear to be adopting more risky behaviors, including alcohol and other drug use… a set of symptoms that often hide the more classic signs: sadness, unexplained crying, feelings of guilt, and changes in appetite.
Additionally, men do not express their distress in words the way women do. Instead of talking about sadness or depression, they usually prefer to talk about “stress” or “slump.”
Underdiagnosed: Gender stereotypes to blame!
These differences, and the low number of men seeking counseling for mental health issues, may lead to underdiagnosis with serious consequences. Not surprisingly, explanations are found in gender norms, which glorify masculinity as following very specific rules: occupational success, the ability to provide for one’s family, self-control, etc. So calling for help is often seen as a sign of weakness and insecurity… reserved for women! A study published in 2011 sociology of health and illness It was also clear: “Our results clearly confirm the macro-link between the discourse on help-seeking by men affected by depression and the discourse on masculinity. ,
“The ideal has been set so high that it is impossible to attain it, The 2016 study was also published in a column condemning scientists. Can Fam Physician, This is followed by a feeling of failure, failure to win the competition against other men and failure to meet the needs of his family. ,
work to change the trend
It is therefore a question of rethinking the relationship of society and the medical profession to depression, which is still considered a “female” disease. For writers, several levers must be lifted:
- Eliminate the stigma associated with the topic by reminding men that mental health affects everyone, and everyone can go through difficult times;
- Change men’s views about health services: Asking for help, no matter what form it takes, should not be seen as taboo. On the contrary, importance should be given to the approach “a symbol of the power to take control of their situation to restore order in their lives”;
- Adapt care structures so that men feel more concerned – even if they deny themselves being targeted primarily at women;
- Prevent this by combating loneliness, especially among the elderly: retired men are seven times more likely to commit suicide than retired women!
While turning a blind eye to sexist clichés that have devastating consequences for both men and women, there are plenty of life-saving solutions.