There is no doubt that depression is as serious a problem in men as it is in women. Although more women than men attempt suicide, men are much more likely to succeed when they attempt it, with four times as many men killing themselves than women. Suicide is the second greatest cause of fatality in men under 25, after road accidents. The Samaritans have identified younger men as a national priority in their strategy for reducing self harm. Nor is it just younger men who are at great risk of suicide. The rate of suicide in men increases after age 70, reaching a peak after age 85.
Depression can also affect the physical health of men in different ways to women. A recent study shows that, although depression is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease in both men and women, men suffer a higher death rate because of it.
Although it is perhaps changing slowly, men have traditionally found it harder to acknowledge their feelings and the effect they have on their lives. Moreover, men's depression is often masked by the avoidance that may be characterised by heavy alcohol or drug use, or in the habit of working excessively long hours.
Depression typically shows up in men, not as feelings of helplessness and vulnerability, but as being irritable, angry and uncooperative. Depression may therefore be difficult to recognise as such in men. Even if a man realises that he is depressed, he is perhaps less willing than a woman to seek help.
Encouragement and support from a partner and/or family members can make a big difference here, especially if acknowledgement of problems is viewed, not as a weakness but as a positive trait to have. In the workplace, employee information and manager training can create an environment where problems can be acknowledged before they become too great and therefore more difficult or costly for the employer. Health and Safety legislation now includes a duty of care on employers to have regard for the psychological health of their employees. In part this may explain the growth of employee assistance schemes or workplace stress reduction programs. Both of these can be of assistance in helping both male, and also increasingly stressed female, workers to understand and accept depression as a real illness that needs treatment.
Nota Jemari: Gud for our knowledge and info