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Approved by Dr Adil Jawad MBBS, DPM, FRCPsych — Clinical Lead for MindClinix

Boys don’t cry

Men with depression are often not diagnosed. Why? Because they are trapped trying to conform to stereotypes.

“Man up”, “don’t be a wimp”, “don’t show weakness”, “don’t be a sissy”, “be the protector”, “be a real man”.

For years, society has told men to be “strong”, and not to admit they’re struggling. Boys are conditioned from an early age not to show emotion, because to express emotion is to be “weak”.

It shouldn’t then come as a surprise that many men still equate being depressed to being feeble, they see themselves as a failure.

This can lead to men downplaying signs and symptoms as:

  • they often don’t recognise the symptoms being caused by depression
  • they feel they can’t discuss their symptoms
  • they resist treatment
  • asking for help can be hard. 

Too often, men don’t seek support until their depression is very severe, and even then they may not seek help at all.

It’s a fact: men get depressed. Millions of men are affected every year. Depression is thought to be the most common mental health condition in the world. It is not a sign of weakness; you cannot snap out of it by being stronger or more manly.

Men should not have to cope alone. 

Depression is a real illness; it takes real strength to face the challenge and seek help to overcome it.

 

So, what are the signs of depression in men?

Depression varies in form and severity. It looks different for each person. Not everyone will experience all the symptoms below, but they are signs to look out for.

Men struggling with depression may complain of physical symptoms such as:

  • chest tightness
  • continuous headaches
  • racing heart, or heart palpitations
  • digestive problems like wind, diarrhoea, and constipation
  • unintended weight loss or sometimes weight gain due to changes in eating habits
  • sleep issues, usually difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • erectile dysfunction
  • headaches
  • chronic pain

and mental symptoms such as:

  • difficulties in concentrating
  • memory problems
  • anxious thought patterns
  • racing thoughts
  • loss of interest in work, family and hobbies
  • feeling sad or empty
  • becoming angry more often
  • feeling like a failure
  • suicidal thoughts.

Men who are depressed can try to hide it with overwork. They can expose themselves to risky behaviours. Some men may try to self-medicate with substance misuse and problems with alcohol. This compounds the issue of suicide.

 

Be there for him

You can be a support to a man in your life who is struggling.

If your loved one is showing signs of depression, what should you do?

  • have a chat with him
  • let him know you are there for him
  • encourage and support him to reach out for help
  • be patient
  • set goals together
  • understand depression can mean low energy and motivation, so lend a hand with daily tasks
  • don’t take his irritability personally.

 

Tough it out?

Asking for help can be hard.

Without treatment, depression can get worse and is unlikely to go away. There is no benefit at all to hiding depression.

Men are three to four times more likely than women to commit suicide, so diagnosing depression and seeking treatment is extremely important and can save lives. The greatest risk factor for suicide is untreated depression.

Don’t let the man you love try to tough it out or face it alone.

Let them know that depression is an illness, not a weakness, and when you’re ill you seek medical help.

Depression is considered a treatable condition. The problem is that men can be more reluctant to see a doctor. A UK British medical journal study found that general primary care consultation rates were 32% lower in men than women. Therefore, you may need to really encourage the man in your life to visit his GP.

Even severe depression usually improves with treatment. 

MindClinix is here to help. We want to ensure that your loved one has access to the help they need. Let’s make sure that when any man is brave enough to be vulnerable and ask for help, the treatment they then receive is accurate and personalised. 

Powered by PREDICTIX, our test kit uses artificial intelligence to translate medical data into an easy-to-use assessment leading to the right medical treatment and ongoing support.

Find out more on the MindClinix website. In short, more men need to take action to overcome depression and they need a good support system to empower them. You can make a real difference to the men in your life by helping them to recognise the signs, addressing concerns and being a reliable support system during recovery.

We can all support men in our own families, in our communities and workplaces.

Let’s break down the stigma and release the bonds, let’s free up men to talk openly and beat their depression.  Let’s give credit and be proud of the courage it takes to recognise and acknowledge depression. Let’s honour the strength it takes to make changes.

*If you believe that someone is at immediate risk of suicide, get help straight away

Find a local NHS urgent mental health helpline (England only)

NHS urgent mental health helplines are for people of all ages.

You can call for:

  • 24-hour advice and support – for you, your child, your parent or someone you care for
  • help to speak to a mental health professional
  • an assessment to help decide on the best course of care

You may need urgent help for many reasons.

The important thing to know is you will not be wasting anyone’s time.

https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/mental-health/find-an-urgent-mental-health-helpline

All content within the MindClinix website is provided for general information purposes only and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. MindClinix.co.uk is an independent website and a source of information.  If you wish to contact individual services for support, please contact them directly. MindClinix is not responsible for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content of this website. Any links to external websites have been carefully selected, however, MindClinix is not liable for the contents of any external internet sites listed, nor does it endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advertised on these linked sites. Listing shall not be taken as endorsement of any kind. The site is hosted by HLP-U Ltd, an independent company affiliated to Psychiatry UK LLP and the views and opinions on the site reflect the ethos of this organisation and are expressed with the aim of improving wellbeing. Always consult your own GP if you’re in any way concerned about your health. You should always promptly consult a doctor for all matters relating to physical or mental health, particularly concerning any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention.