Sure, everyone has days where sadness creeps in, but typically the feelings should pass after a few days. If it gets to a point that the sadness, exhaustion, or loss of interest starts to affect your daily life, you may be suffering from depression. National Depression Screening Day is Oct. 6 and is an important reminder that depression doesn’t discriminate. It impacts both men and women, but depression can affect men differently than it does women.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, men may be more likely to feel very tired and irritable and lose interest in their work, family or hobbies. They may be more likely to have difficulty sleeping than women who have depression.
And although women with depression are more likely to attempt suicide, men are more likely to die by suicide. Men are more hesitant to talk openly about their feelings with their friends or family and are reluctant to seek help for their depression due to judgment from others.
“The men I see in my office are those who no longer fear falling off their white horse,” said Brad Breneman, a licensed clinical social worker and certified alcohol and drug counselor at Memorial Behavioral Health-Counseling Associates. “They acknowledge the possibility exists that they may have anxiety, depression or perhaps other issues.”
Help for Depression
The good news is depression is treatable. Do you think you could have a husband, dad, uncle, cousin or friend suffering from depression? The National Institute of Mental Health offers these helpful tips:
- If you know someone who has depression, first help him find a doctor or mental health professional, and make an appointment.
- Offer him support, understanding, patience and encouragement.
- Talk to him, and listen carefully.
- Never ignore comments about suicide, and report them to his therapist or doctor.
- Invite him out for walks, outings and other activities. If he says no, keep trying, but don’t push him to take on too much too soon.
- Encourage him to report any concerns about medications to his healthcare provider.
- Ensure that he gets to his doctor’s appointments.
- Remind him that with time and treatment the feelings of depression will lessen.
When asked how someone can encourage the men in their life to speak up about mental health, Breneman said, “We can’t get rid of the shame associated with behavioral health without opening a dialogue. When we learn more about behavioral health issues and talk about it with others, it helps to destroy the shame that is too often associated with it. Being screened for a behavioral health issue is a step towards accepting that we are not bulletproof.”
If you are worried that you or someone you care about may be suffering from depression or another common mental health condition, take our free, anonymous assessment at memorialbehavioralhealth.org.Enjoy LiveWell Online Magazine? Stay up-to-date with a free email subscription!