Society has long-favored the idea of a man who is stoic, brave and doesn’t get too emotional. Just think of pop culture figures like Parks and Recreation’s Ron Swanson, who perfectly exemplifies this “rugged individualism.” The problem is that this ideal also promotes the belief that real men don’t talk about their emotions. Add in how unlikely men are to go to the doctor when something is wrong—whether it’s physical or mental—and you can see how hard it is to be a guy struggling with depression. It’s as if seeking help is a sign of weakness.
Sadly, this silent suffering can have tragic results. According to a report by Man Therapy, an organization dedicated to suicide prevention among working-age men, suicide is the second leading cause of death for men 25 to 34.
But, it doesn’t have to be that way. If you have a friend or family member who you suspect is dealing with anxiety, depression or other mental health issues, take the first step and talk to them about it. You can always start the conversation with a confession of your own—maybe talk about something you are trying to work through—and see if that makes him more comfortable opening up in return. Remind him that it takes courage to admit something is wrong and that therapy and medication can be a huge help, but only if those treatments are sought out.
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