It’s not a sign of weakness, it’s a fact: Men get depressed. Depression is an illness that can rob you of your will to live. It can steal pleasure from things and activities that used to give you joy. Depression affects millions of men every year and is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Acknowledging you are feeling down, sad and not quite yourself is the first step. Seeking help, talking to friends, family and your health care professional is the next step. It can often feel daunting to talk to people about what you’re dealing with but without talking about it, your mental health will inevitably suffer.
The greatest evidence of male vulnerability is in suicide statistics. Among Canadians of all ages, 75%-80% of all suicides are male. Rates of suicide in Canada have been fairly constant since the 1920s averaging annually around 20 males and 5 females per 100,000 population. Statistics without context can often be glazed over, but every day, eight men lose their lives to suicide. 800,000 people worldwide die by suicide every year, nearly twice the number who die by homicide.
People with mood disorders are at a much higher risk of developing long-term medical conditions. People with mental illness are two times more likely to have a substance use problem than the general population and are more likely to die prematurely.
While the statistics are bleak, there is a lot of work from incredible organizations that work hard every day to help those that are suffering. One online resource, “Heads Up Guys” is leading the way in providing a resource, “For Men. About Men.”
Their focus is on depression in men, taking action and resources for individuals, friends and family. The entire site is dedicated to helping men get better by providing health strategies for managing and preventing depression. From having self-check tests, real-life stories of men who have hit rock bottom, attempted suicide and recovered, their website offers a plethora of information for anyone who needs help.