Depression in Men
Men, Depression, and SuicideMore than four times as many men as women die by suicide in the United States, even though women make more suicide attempts during their lives. In light of research indicating that suicide is often associated with depression, the alarming suicide rate among men may reflect the fact that men are less likely to seek treatment. Many men with depression do not obtain adequate diagnosis and treatment that may be life-saving.
More research is needed to understand all aspects of depression in men, including how men respond to stress and feelings associated with depression, how to make men more comfortable acknowledging these feelings and getting the help they need, and how to train physicians to better recognize and treat the condition in men. Family members, friends, and employee-assistance professionals in the workplace also can play important roles in recognizing symptoms in men and helping them get treatment.
If you or a loved one is thinking about suicide, get help immediately:
- Call your doctor's office
- Call 911 for emergency services
- Go to the emergency room of the nearest hospital
- Ask a family member or friend to take you to the hospital or call your doctor
- Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) to be connected to a trained counselor at the suicide crisis center nearest you.
Final ThoughtsA man can experience depression in many different ways. He may be grumpy or irritable, or have lost his sense of humor. He might drink too much or abuse drugs. It may be that he physically or verbally abuses his wife and his kids. He might work all the time or compulsively seek thrills in high-risk behavior. Or, he may seem isolated, withdrawn, and no longer interested in the people or activities he used to enjoy.
Perhaps this man sounds like you. If so, it is important to understand that there is a brain disorder called depression that may be underlying these feelings and behaviors. It's real: Scientists have developed sensitive imaging devices that enable us to see depression in the brain. And it's treatable: More than 80 percent of those suffering from depression respond to existing treatments, and new ones are continually becoming available and helping more people. Talk with a healthcare provider about how you are feeling, and ask for help.
Or perhaps this man sounds like someone you care about. Try to talk with him or to someone who has a chance of getting through to him. Help him to understand that depression is a common illness among men and is nothing to be ashamed about. Encourage him to see a doctor and get an evaluation.
For most men with depression, life doesn't have to be so dark and hopeless. Life is hard enough as it is; treating depression can free up vital resources to cope with life's challenges effectively. When a man is depressed, he's not the only one who suffers. His depression also darkens the lives of his family, his friends -- virtually everyone who is close to him. Getting him into treatment can send ripples of healing and hope into all of those lives.