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Why do men seek mental health treatment less than women?

This excerpt is taken from a recent article on reducing stigma against men seeking mental health treatment.

Decades of research shows that men are far less likely to seek help for mental health difficulties. Some researchers and clinicians are coming to think that the traditional signs of depression, which include persistent sadness, feelings of worthlessness, and a loss of interest in hobbies may not represent many men’s experience of a depressive period. Although research is just beginning to support the idea of a “male-based depression,” it is possible that men may instead express their depression in terms of increases in fatigue, irritability, and anger. Research has also suggested that men are more prone to addictive behaviors, particularly alcohol dependence/abuse and substance use disorder, which can mask the signs of depression, making it harder to detect and treat effectively.

“Several lines of research evidence suggest that men and boys face a double-bind when it comes to mental health problems,” said Ryon McDermott, PhD, president of APA’s Division 51 (Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinities). He noted that specifically, males suffer in silence when they internalize restrictive gender roles that prohibit psychological help-seeking because it is seen as weak or “unmanly.”  Therefore, some males are constricted in their ability to cope with psychological distress, and this further exacerbates their problems.

No one should be stigmatized for seeking mental health support. Unfortunately, stigmatization can occur very subtly in countries like Japan. If you know someone who needs support but is afraid to take action, please support and encourage them.

Novotney, A. (2023, February 22). Fetterman’s hospitalization for depression may help reduce stigma against men seeking mental health treatment.

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