When we talk about the health of an individual, we aren’t just talking about the absence of illness, but a state of mental, physical, and social well-being. Mental health is such a vital component of overall wellness, but is often overlooked as a negligible determinant of our health. More than 42 million Americans experience a mental illness each year, and we are focusing on one group in particular this month. June is Men’s Health Month, and we are exploring the critical mental health needs of men, as part of their overall health and wellness.
The following statistics help us to understand the complex needs surrounding men and their mental health:
Nearly 1 in 10 men experience depression and anxiety: According to a poll of 21,000 American men by researchers at the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), nearly one in ten men reported experiencing some form of depression or anxiety, but less than half sought treatment.
Men die by suicide 3.5x more often than women: Men experience a higher rate suicide than women. Depression, when left untreated, can in some cases reach a crisis point of suicidal contemplation. With so few men reaching out for help or support, and instead suffering in silence, this may be one reason why men face a higher suicide rate.
About 6 of every 10 men experience at least one trauma in their lives: Men are more likely to experience trauma related to accidents, physical assault, combat, disaster, or to witness death or injury. PTSD can develop weeks, months, and sometimes even years after an experienced trauma, and can cause a person to relive the traumatic event, avoid places or situations that serve as a reminder of it, feeling on alert or keyed up for danger, experience nightmares or flashbacks, and a number of other troubling symptoms that can interfere with their everyday life.
Men are almost two times more likely to binge drink than women: Not only do men binge drink more often than women, men consistently have higher rates of alcohol-related deaths and hospitalizations. Men are also more likely to have used alcohol before dying by suicide.
Forty-nine percent of men feel more depressed than they admit to the people in their life: A Today Show commissioned survey of more than 1,000 men revealed the truth that many assume. Men are much less likely to voice struggles with mental illness, and even thoughts of suicide.
Making the decision to start a conversation with a friend or loved one about mental health takes courage and strength. It’s likely that someone you know is experiencing feelings of depression or anxiety, and you have the power to make a difference in their lives. Take action for Men’s Health Month by looking out for those that you love.