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Mental Health: Effects on Men and Women

One in five adults in the U.S experiences a mental health condition in a given year, however fewer than half receive treatment. While mental health conditions impact both men and women, they can affect each gender differently. Understanding and being aware of these differences can increase the likelihood of identifying and treating an increasing number of individuals in need.


For some men, depression may present itself in the form of anger, irritation, or aggression instead of sadness. These men are often overlooked, leaving problems to potentially worsen. Others use alcohol and/or drugs as a coping mechanism for their symptoms. Men consistently have higher rates of alcohol and substance use than women do (with the exception of teenagers, who experience similar rates).

Quick Facts

  • Alcohol is involved in 1/4 of suicides in the U.S.
  • 9% of American men have daily feelings of depression or anxiety
  • 1 in 4 men have spoken to a mental health professional
  • 30.6% of men will experience a period of depression during their lifetime


Research shows that women tend to experience depression (certain symptoms in particular) and are diagnosed more often than men. Women are more apt to experience seasonal affective disorder during the winter, and are also more likely to notice symptoms of atypical depression. Atypical depression presents with symptoms like sleeping excessively, eating more, gaining weight, and feelings of guilt. While men often direct their inner turmoil outward, women tend to place the blame on themselves, causing feelings of sadness and worthlessness.

Quick Facts

  • 12% of American women will experience symptoms of clinical depression at some point during their lives
  • Depression is found most commonly in women aged 25-44
  • Women are 2 times more likely to have an anxiety disorder than men
  • Up to 1 in 7 women experience postpartum depression


Recognizing the signs and symptoms of depression and other mood and anxiety disorders in men and women, and acknowledging their differences is critical. Although women experience depression more often, men die from suicide at a rate that is 3.5 times greater than women. Identifying depression is the first step toward healing. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition, take an anonymous screening at

If you or someone you know is experiencing signs or symptoms of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Help is available 24/7.