Although men and women can develop most of the same mental health disorders and conditions, men’s mental health is often overlooked. Unfortunately, for men, the struggle of navigating these challenges can be one that is silent — antiquated ideas about gender and “masculine behavior” combined with stigma around men’s mental health being the likely reasons for this silent struggle. And men of color and those with diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds face even more challenges when it comes to looking after their mental health.

Men’s mental health issues are just as important as women’s, as they have a significant impact on everyone around them. Because men often don’t take the time to care for themselves, especially for their mental health, it often becomes overlooked and seen as taboo to discuss men’s mental health. However, the stigma surrounding men’s mental health needs to change so that men feel comfortable seeking the help they need and deserve.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, men are more likely to die by suicide than women. Data from the Priory Group indicates that 40% of men won’t discuss their mental health with anyone, with the majority of stressors related to work, finances and their health. And although Mental Health America’s studies show that mental health professionals diagnose depression more often in women than in men, more than 6 million American men experience symptoms of depression annually — and most go undiagnosed.

While men and women can deal with the same mental health conditions, they often present in different ways. It’s important to recognize the most common signs of these conditions in men, so that they may seek appropriate care:

  • Anger, irritability, or aggressiveness
  • Noticeable changes in mood, energy level, or appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Difficulty concentrating, feeling restless, or on edge
  • Increased worry or feeling stressed
  • Misuse of alcohol, drugs, or both
  • Persistent sadness or feelings of hopelessness
  • Feeling flat or having trouble feeling positive emotions
  • Engaging in high-risk activities
  • Aches, headaches, or digestive problems without a clear cause
  • Obsessive thinking or compulsive behavior
  • Thoughts or behaviors that interfere with work, family, or social life
  • Thoughts of death or suicide or suicide attempts
Pretending our issues don’t exist is not only an outdated viewpoint, but also a dangerous one. Mental health is as important as physical and emotional health, for both men and women alike.

Men’s Mental Health Month: The Importance of Men’s Mental Health