Let’s take a second to discuss men’s mental health. The younger generations have made great strides in bringing anxiety, depression and mental health issues to light in ways they have never been before. However, no sensationalizing or media coverage can get into the brains of those going through hard times that affect them every day.
How depression affects men
Over 6 million men are affected by depression every year. And it’s not something many of us discuss. The fact of the matter is 75% of all suicides are men, and it’s the seventh leading cause of death among all males. I’m not going to make blanketing conclusions about masculinity or the pressure to be the leader of your household: Many of these demographics have changed, and I don’t believe they tell the whole story of men’s mental health struggles.
A mental health journey
I have suffered from anxiety and depression. Though I never entered the realm of suicidal thoughts, I did gain 50 pounds and would fake migraines as an excuse to lay in the dark and be left alone — I was miserable. At the age of 23, I didn’t understand where my life was going, and this mindset bogged me down. But ultimately, my mental state would be nowhere close to where it is today if it wasn’t for friends, family and professionals I contacted to get the help I needed.
Now, I’m more than OK. I’ve dealt with my demons on many occasions, but I would not be suited for that battle if I hadn’t addressed my issues head-on. Ignoring these issues can lead to substance abuse, lack of productivity at work and an array of other things that only multiply your depression. But know you have the power to end the cycle, even if it requires a little help to find it.
If you’re struggling, reach out:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255 (TALK)
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: 800-662-4357 (HELP)