Depression sneaks up on people and can often start with a small worry, anxiety, or a feeling of being down. Everyone feels worried and sad at times and this makes anxiety and depression not only hard to recognise but also hard to accept.
The socialisation of men as strong, emotionless, and self-reliant is well-known to create a barrier to seeking help. Men aren’t taught how to communicate their feelings in the way that women tend to be, and this lack of emotional awareness can have devastating consequences. For a lot of men, anxiety and depression are strange and isolating experiences in which symptoms are not associated with mental ill-health but with weakness.
In the UK, a woman is twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression as a man (Mental Health Foundation). This, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that twice as many women are depressed. How many men are not coming forward? The answer is a lot. According to Samaritans, men are four times as likely to commit suicide than women (Source) – it’s plain to see the numbers don’t add up.
Go to your GP: Your doctor can assess if you are suffering from anxiety or depression. They will work with you to find the best treatment plan for you. This is an excellent place to start, especially if you have an existing medical condition that might be making the situation worse.
Seek therapy: Not everyone is ready to see their doctor, and that’s okay. Some men might be more comfortable talking to a private counsellor or psychotherapist. Anxiety and depression can be difficult to manage alone. Psychotherapy is a proven effective treatment for anxiety and depression.
Talk to a friend: sometimes making the first step in recovery is difficult. Talking to a friend can give you the support or encouragement you need. Don’t suffer alone.