People are generally compassionate and understanding about people with depression or those who are suicidal.
But, men who are depressed themselves often view their own problems very negatively, new research finds.
Men who are depressed can see themselves as a disappointment and a burden to others.
The results come from a survey of 901 men and women in Canada.
Professor John Oliffe, an expert on men’s health who co-led the study, said:
“While it was reassuring to find that Canadians in general don’t stigmatize male depression or suicide, it was concerning that the men with depression or suicidal thoughts felt a strong stigma around their condition, and many were afraid of being discovered.”
Unfortunately the sense of anxiety and fear that surrounds depression can stop people — and men especially — from seeking help.
Professor John Ogrodniczuk, the study’s other co-lead, said:
“Social isolation is one of the biggest risk factors for male suicide.
By reaching out, even with a simple question like ‘how are you doing?’ or offering to do something together, such as taking in a game, we can help reduce the risk of self-harm.”
The study was funded by the Movember Foundation, a global charity aimed at raising awareness about men’s health.
Jesse Hayman, Director of Community Engagement at Movember Canada, said:
“We’re looking at the issue of mental health through the male lens to ensure that the programs we fund and support are tailored towards men.
Our goal is to help men live happier, healthier, longer lives, and this study supports the importance of helping men stay socially connected, so that they feel they have the support they need.”
The study was published in the Community Mental Health Journal (Oliffe et al., 2016).
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
Depressed man image from Shutterstock