October 10 marked World Mental Health Day. The focus this year was on raising awareness about men’s depression and mental health. The second leading cause of disability in the world is depression. Sixteen percent of Canadian women experience a major depression at least once in their life. Men, although perceived as more stalwart and less emotional than women, experience depression at a rate of about 11 percent, according to figures from Health Canada. This means that about 840,000 men are affected by depression. The more startling figure is that Canadian men account for more than four times the number of suicides than women. Depression is a leading cause of suicide, which means that this mental health disorder has to be addressed.
Men may find it more difficult to get help because of the misconceptions about depression. Headsupguys.org, funded through Movember Foundation and the University of British Columbia, has launched a movement to help men find the help and support they need to get past depression. On the Headsupguys websites, men share personal stories of overcoming depression as a way to encourage others to reach out for help. To help these measures, we would like to share some of the myths about depression to give you information about getting better. Share with a loved one or use it for yourself.
Misconceptions About Men’s Depression
- Depression is a sign of weakness – No, it’s not. Depression is actually a real illness with treatment available from your doctor and therapist.
- Real men don’t let things get to them and stay in control of their emotions – Not true. The real strength is in facing the daily challenges that arise in your life and dealing with them, no matter what your emotions do.
- Being sad is unmanly – Nope. All humans feel a huge range of emotions every day, sadness included. Men feel many different things and shouldn’t be scared of sadness.
- Men should be able to cope on their own without asking for help – Truly, this is wrong. If you broke your arm, you wouldn’t hesitate to ask a professional for help. In business, you’re encouraged to have a mentor. Asking for help and guidance when you’re experiencing mental health problems is not a sign of weakness. It’s actually one of the smartest things you can do.
- If you have enough willpower, you can snap out of depression – A big misconception, and completely false. Much like you couldn’t make yourself get over cancer, you cannot just get over depression. You need new tools and resources to learn to approach your life differently and overcome this disorder.
Reaching Out for Help
Once you understand that depression is a serious illness, that doesn’t make it easy to just get help. But you have to take that first step. What can you do? If you’re worried about talking to your doctor, start with a loved one who can help you reach out. Your spouse, your parents, your siblings and even your adult children are a good place to start. Depression makes it difficult to move forward in your life. Ask for help.
Call your doctor and make an appointment to get the ball rolling. Your doctor can go over your symptoms with you and help you find the mental health resources you need. A doctor might suggest medication along with therapy. Don’t be afraid to at least talk about the options. Getting better and back to your life is the most important thing.
There are many 24/7 health crisis lines in Canada that you can call when you want help. Don’t be afraid to reach out. You won’t be wasting their time. The services are anonymous and confidential. Calls are not recorded. If you are in imminent risk, you will be asked if it’s okay to send help. Your privacy will not be violated, and you may find the resources you need.