You may have noticed folks wearing blue today. Many did so in recognition of Men’s Health Week. Friday is Wear Blue Day, which is about focusing on issues facing men’s health. Men’s mental health is an aspect of men’s health that can often be overlooked.
“Mental health issues affect both men and women alike, however, men tend to seek treatment for mental health issues a lot less than women do,” said Josaylon Wade, Chief Clinical Officer at WellStone Behavioral Health.
Wade says this is partly because of the stigma surrounding mental health. Depression, she says, tops the list for most common mental health issue among men.
“Often times, men will have more concerns as it relates to suicide than women,” she said.
According to the CDC, depression is one of the leading causes of disease or injury worldwide for both men and women. The problem is many men who struggle with it aren’t getting help.
“You’ll find that 1 in 5 people will have some sort of mental health issue or concern in their life span,” said Wade. “Right now, here at WellStone, I would say we treat about 45% men in terms of population to 55% of women.”
So what are some signs that could mean a mental health issue for men?
“Common indicators of men mental health issues would be anger problems, irritability for no real reason, isolating from other people, not sleeping enough or sleeping too much, their diet — not eating healthy,” said Wade.
As for signs of depression, the CDC sites persistent sadness, feelings of hopelessness, tiredness, and decreased energy, and thoughts of suicide.
“When it comes to preventing mental health issues, Wade says a healthy lifestyle can help. That includes a well-balanced diet, exercise, and leisure activities.
Kids watch what parents do, so parents can help their kids by living and modeling a healthy lifestyle for them by eating healthy and exercising regularly. Wade also recommends having a dialogue with your kids about mental illness.
“It’s okay to talk about issues that they’re having, and if they’re talking about those issues, and those things they’re going through tend to be out of the norm, that it’s okay to seek treatment, it’s okay to talk to a mental health professional,” said Wade.
Click here to read more from the CDC on men’s health recommendations: https://www.cdc.gov/features/healthymen/index.html.