Although we are now into December, we are continuing our focus on “Movember.” November is designated as a time to increase awareness about prostate and testicular cancer and men’s mental health. It is never too late to focus on health.
Problems with the prostate and testicles can be difficult to talk about, especially problems that may lead to loss of sexual function, sexual desire, or feelings of sexual confidence. Sexual health is an important part of overall physical and emotional well-being.
Most Men Avoid Discussing Mental Health
Men are more reluctant to seek mental health treatment and when they do seek treatment, they are less likely to be properly diagnosed. Men are more likely to fear a lack of understanding from family, friends, and coworkers when it comes to their mental health.
Men are less likely to show emotions and may believe that such emotions convey vulnerability or weakness. Men are more likely to act aggressively or display anger and hostility when experiencing mental distress. Other male-typical symptoms of mental distress can include substance abuse, risky behavior, and physical complaints.
It is startling to know that according to the CDC, in the United States suicide is the second leading cause of death among men from 20 to 44 years of age. Six million men are affected by depression every year. These statistics are worrisome, and some professionals have suggested that mental health is becoming the “other silent killer” of men.
When men suffer in silence with depression, thoughts of suicide or other mental health illnesses, they do not suffer alone. Their families, relationships and our society also suffer. It is time that we work together to begin challenging and changing misperceptions that not only harm men but that also harm our society. Rarely do men simply snap out of it or get over it. Men must do something, and we all can help by speaking up and helping men talk about sexual and mental health concerns.
What Can Men Do?
Allow yourself time or space to adjust to physical or functional changes – even the temporary ones.
Don’t Isolate. Seek support from trusted friends, clergy, and those close to you. Others can offer support only if they know you need assistance. The first step is talking and being heard.
Include your partner with how you are feeling and coping.
Seek professional guidance from your primary care provider and other reliable resources.
Eat well – limit alcohol, sugar, and processed foods. If you use tobacco products, get help so you can stop.
Stay or become physically active
Empower your true self. Avoid labeling yourself. Reach up and reach out. Help is available.
When we get down to the facts, helping men talk about mental health is the manly thing to do.
If you have thoughts of suicide call 911 or a trusted friend who can help you get to an Emergency Department.
If you have any questions about men’s mental health, please log into your account and send
us your question. We are here to help.
Dr. Joe Banken PhD