With new information released pointing to a deepening male suicide crisis (a crisis that is much worse than previously believed), it is becoming increasingly important that we recognise risk factors for depression and anxiety in men. Depression and anxiety are among the most common health conditions experienced by men. Different things can cause depression and anxiety for different men, and sometimes it can be due to things building up over time.
Risk factors for depression and anxiety in men
Some of the risk factors for depression and anxiety in men include:
- Life events like problems to do with relationships, employment, social isolation, separation or divorce, pregnancy or the birth of a baby. Research has shown that prolonged or excessive job stress is a factor for mental health problems and accounts for 13 per cent of depression in working men. (1)
- Family history of depression and anxiety.
- Drug and alcohol use.
- Serious medical illness – the stress of dealing with serious illness and chronic pain can lead to depression. (2)
On average, 1 in 8 men will have depression, and 1 in 5 men will experience anxiety at some stage in their lives. Men are less likely to seek help than women, with only 1 in 4 men who experience anxiety or depression seeking treatment. (3)
Men are known for bottling things up
There’s still a stigma that ‘real men’ don’t complain about their physical, mental or emotional problems. There’s a sense that real men stick it through, suck it up, work it out. Insights from Movember show that men say they would be there to support their mates, but they feel uncomfortable about asking their mates for help. (5)
Yes, boys do cry - how my son struggled at school
5 reasons why homelessness is getting worse in Victoria
The male suicide crisis is 3 times worse than previously thought
Half of all mental illness begins by age 14
Feeling helpless or trapped? Effective counselling for depression, anxiety and stress
But reaching out is vital
It’s important for men to have people they can talk to about anything, get things off their chest and know that they won’t be judged. Talking is the first step to feeling better. Talking about your feelings and finding the right words can be hard, but keeping quiet can make it seem worse.
BeyondBlue has some great tips about talking about how you’re feeling like:
- Find the right person to talk with who is likely to be understanding. This might be someone you are close to and trust, like a friend, family member or colleague, or a health professional.
- Be kind to yourself and take it slowly.
- Accept that people will react in different ways. Understand and try to accept that not everyone will be able or willing to support you. Try to appreciate their efforts.
- Talk when you are ready about what is important to you. It’s your experience, and you are in control of what you share.
- You may want to talk about how you’re feeling; any physical changes you’ve noticed like feeling more tired than usual; and how it has affected your day to day life.
- Communicate as clearly as you’re able to, about what support you need at the moment. You may need to be clear that you just need someone to listen to you; and that your needs may change over time.
- Focus on how you can help others (that might be your friends, your family or others in need) and set goals and work towards them. Keep a gratitude journal and make daily entries about things you are grateful for.
It can be helpful to talk a doctor or mental health professional
Mental health professionals can help people make sense of depression, pain and stress. Without proper understanding or knowledge, people who suffer from depression and anxiety can feel alone and helpless.
It’s common when you are depressed or anxious to feel as though you have little control over things. Our trained psychologists and counsellors can help you make sense of what you are going through, and work with you in navigating life changes and transitions.
Inspiro’s counsellors are available in Lilydale, Belgrave and Healesville. To make an appointment call 9028 0153
(1) D LaMontagne, A., Keegel, T., Vallance, D., Ostry, A., & Wolfe, R. (2008). Job strain — Attributable depression in a sample of working Australians: Assessing the contribution to health inequalities. BMC Public Health.
(2) Beyond Blue. https://www.beyondblue.org.au/who-does-it-affect/men/what-causes-anxiety-and-depression-in-men
(3) Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2008). National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007. Cat. no. (4326.0). Canberra: ABS.
(4) Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2017). Causes of Death, Australia, 2017. Cat. No. (3303.0). Canberra: ABS
(5) Movember: au.movember.com