Why Many Men Find It Difficult To Seek Treatment for Mental Illness

Men died by suicide at a rate of 3.54 % higher than women in 2017, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Mental Health America reported that 6 million men are affected by depression in the United States every single year.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism puts the number of men dying due to alcohol-related causes at 62,000 per year, compared to 26,000 women.

And men are also two to three times more likely to misuse drugs than women.

Suicide and depression are the leading causes of death among men, and yet they’re still far less likely to seek mental health treatment than women.

The stigma men face
Dr. Raymond Hobbs, a physician consultant at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, told Healthline “I think part of it may be this macho thing. A lot of guys don’t want to admit they have this problem. They still see depression as a sign of weakness.”

He was clear that this is outdated thinking. It is a relic of the previous generations that doesn’t speak to the current medical understanding of mental illness.

“We know so much more now, and we recognize the chemical changes that take place. In many ways, mental illness is just like diabetes, or any other physical condition,” he said.

But he points out a lot of people who don’t look at it that way. Instead, they still see mental health problems as a personal issue and a lack of personal fortitude.

Because of that, and the stigma that still exists surrounding mental illness a lot of men struggle with admitting they may need help.
Zach Levin of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation told Healthline, “There is work for us to do as a society regarding the stigma of asking for help. While we have done a much better job of reducing stigma and expanding opportunities for support, men still may be experiencing shame and guilt that could lead to them being less willing to ask for help.”

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