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affect you, or you may not want to admit
to yourself or to anyone else that you’re
depressed. But ignoring, suppressing or
masking depression with unhealthy behavior
won’t make it go away.
• Reluctance to discuss depression symptoms.
As a man, you may not be open to talking
about your feelings with family or friends,
let alone with a health care professional. Like
many men, you may have learned to place an
emphasis on self-control. You may think it’s
“unmanly” to express feelings and emotions
associated with depression, and instead you
may try to suppress them.
• Resisting mental health treatment. Even if
you suspect you have depression, you may
avoid diagnosis or refuse treatment. You may
avoid getting help because you’re worried
that the stigma of depression could damage
your career or cause family and friends to
lose respect for you.
Male depression
and suicide
Although women attempt suicide more often
than men, men are more likely to complete
suicide. Men may be more likely than women
to complete suicide because:
• They use methods that are more likely to be
lethal, such as guns
• They act more quickly on suicidal thoughts
• They show fewer warning signs, such as
talking about suicide
When you have suicidal thoughts
If you think
you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, get
help right now:
• Call 911 or your local emergency number
If you’re feeling suicidal but you aren’t
immediately thinking of hurting yourself:
• Reach out to a close friend or loved one -
even though you may be reluctant to talk
about your feelings.
• Seek help from your doctor, a mental health
provider or other health care professional.
• Contact a minister, spiritual leader or
someone in your faith community.
• Call a suicide crisis center hot line.
• Make an appointment with your primary
care doctor or other health care provider or
mental health provider.
Get help when you need it
Asking for help can be hard for men. You may
not recognize your depression symptoms or
you may downplay your feelings. You may see
depression as a weakness and be reluctant to
bring it up with your doctor.
But without treatment, depression is unlikely
to go away, and it may get worse. Untreated
depression can make you and the people close
to you miserable. It can cause problems in
every aspect of your life, including your health,
career, relationships and personal safety.
Depression, even if it’s severe, usually improves
with medications or psychological counseling
(psychotherapy), so don’t try to tough out
depression on your own. If you or someone
close to you thinks you may be depressed, talk
to your doctor or a mental health provider.
Have the courage to ask for advice or seek help
when you need it.
Male depression
and coping skills
Like other men, you may feel that your
depression symptoms aren’t severe. You may
believe that you should be able to just get over
them or tough them out. You may try to deny
depression symptoms, ignore them or blunt
them by drinking too much alcohol, taking
illicit drugs or working longer hours.
But these kinds of attempts at coping with
male depression will likely just leave you
chronically unhappy and miserable, and
possibly at risk of losing your life.
It takes effort to practice healthy coping skills
rather than automatically turning to alcohol,
speeding or frequent sex. Treatment with a
doctor or mental health provider can help you
learn healthy coping skills. These may include:
• Goals. Set realistic goals and prioritize tasks.
• Support. Seek out emotional support from
a partner or family or friends. In general,
men tend to disregard the value of emotional
support in coping with male depression.
• Activities. Engage in activities you enjoy,
such as exercise, movies, ball games or
• Decisions. Delay making important
decisions, such as changing jobs, until your
depression symptoms improve.
Many effective treatments are available for
depression. So don’t try to tough out male
depression on your own. The consequences
may be devastating.
Do you feel irritable, isolated or
withdrawn? Do you find yourself
working all the time? Drinking too
much? These unhealthy coping
strategies may be clues that you
have male depression.
Depression can affect men
differently than it does women.
When depression occurs in
men, it may be more severe
than in women and can be
masked by unhealthy coping
behavior. For a number of
reasons, male depression
often goes undiagnosed. Male
depression usually gets better
with treatment, but it can have
devastating consequences when
it goes untreated.
May/June 2013