This post is part of a weekly Movember series publishing every Friday in November 2015. Read Week 1:Joining the Movember Movement and Week 2: Preventing Prostate Cancer and stay tuned for next week’s edition on physical activity.
For this week’s discussion I’ll be talking about poor mental health and how it impacts men here in the United States and across the globe. Some of you might be thinking that mental health seems so unimportant in comparison to things like prostate or testicular cancer, but mental health issues can affect anyone of any age. In fact, according to the Movember Foundation, 1 in 4 adults will experience a mental health problem in a given year.
As a male, I understand the innate and almost primal desire to remain “strong and silent” when it comes to any issues we might come across. We as men typically find it difficult to share our problems and get the support we need, despite the detrimental effect our problem can have.
But here’s the deal: The highest rate of depression is MEN aged 40-59 and, on average, 87 men EACH DAY take their life by suicide in the United States. Guys, staying “strong and silent” is foolishness. It’s important to stay proactive about your mental health, be aware of risk factors and symptoms, and stay connected with friends and family.
There are a number of factors that have been linked to an increased risk of poor mental health, including:
- Previous family or personal history of mental health problems
- Drug and/or alcohol abuse
- Serious medical illness
- Isolation or loneliness
- Unemployment, homelessness, conflict or other stressful life situations
Learn more about depression and four of the other most common types of mental illness in HealthConnect’s 5-part mental illness series. And, take a moment to read this article: Manly Advice: Dealing With Stress.
The Movember Foundation is committed to looking at the issue of mental health through a male lens and ensuring that the programs they fund and support are tailored towards men. By participating in the Movember movement, we’re funding initiatives that:
- Develop models to improve the mental health and well-being of men.
- Challenge the negative aspects of masculinity and its impact on mental health.
- Encourage men to stay connected with friends and family.
- Bring conversations about mental health out into the open.
I support Movember because they believe in global collaboration to create a positive change in attitudes towards mental health. The Movember Foundation continues to seek new funding opportunities that benefit men’s and boys’ mental health.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health problem, the most important first step is to talk to someone. Whether it’s your doctor, your family, your friends, or an anonymous person on a support line – advice and effective tools are available on the Movember Foundation website. You can also learn more about local services provided by Harbor on their website, harbor.org.