Men deal with anxiety & depression completely differently to women.
Women as we know, share ALL their secrets; it won’t be with everyone but 99.9% of the time it will be with someone, someone they trust implicitly.
But what about men? Men often hide the fact they are feeling anxious or depressed, even to themselves. And despite the ever-changing world of gender identity/equality & stereotypes. Men still find it incredibly difficult to talk about their problems for fear of looking weak.
Most men have been brought up with advice from well-meaning parents that “big boys don’t cry”, this is then exacerbated at school and the workplace by other boys and men who, not wanting to stand out or be on the receiving end themselves, continue re-enforcing this message often disguised in either bullying or playful banter.
A lot of men are able to disguise their negative emotions behind, successful careers, excessive socialising, sport and gym memberships. Often the ones struggling the most are the ones you didn’t see coming; the mate who is always up for a beer or a laugh, the one who stays out the latest and parties the hardest or the opposite the friend immersed in his career too busy to meet up.
But eventually there will be a breaking point, the straw that broke the camel’s back, usually triggered by a significant event like the loss of a close relative or friend, or a significant relationship break-up or even a business deal that bombs.
It is probably not surprising for you to read then, that according to the Samaritans statistics, 3 in 4 UK suicides are committed by men. It is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45, with the age group of 40 – 44 being the highest.
So, if this sounds like someone you know, what can you do to help?
If you are noticing differing behaviours or the gradual pulling away by the person, rather than saying “are you OK?”, which can feel judgemental, only needs a one-word answer & might make them go on the defensive; ask them how they are feeling, this is not so direct and requires more thought with an answer.
Don’t feel you have to have all the answers too, a lot of people say, “I didn’t speak to them because I didn’t know what to say”. You don’t have to say anything, just be there and listen and show them their thoughts and words are important and interesting.
Some issues men may find easier to chat through with a stranger, help them seek out a Therapist, there are lots of us out there, and most of us offer free chats before booking in so you can help them shop around and choose one that suits their needs & personality.
As with all issues regarding mental health, a trip to the doctor may be necessary so medical reasons can be ruled out too.
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