According to the mental health charity ‘Mind’, large numbers of men suffering from depression are not getting the treatment they need, not because they are not actually depressed, or seeking help, but because of the way doctors diagnose depression. Basically, it’s not getting picked up.
This is particularly worrying because men are statistically more likely to commit suicide than women.
The problem seems to be that when doctors are looking at the symptoms of depression, the criteria they use to diagnose it is more suited towards female patients, whereas male issues are mostly hidden.
Women are more likely to talk about their problems whereas depression in men is more likely to manifest itself in aggressive behaviour.
“We are working on recommendations for GPs encouraging them to look out for some of the more male symptoms of depression, such as anger or aggression,” said Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind.
The charity is now looking for an improvement in the provision of mental health services so that services geared specifically towards men are included, such as all male service user groups, which Mind claim have been very successful when they do exist.
Also, according to Farmer, it’s not true that women are more likely to suffer from depression than men.
“Statistics tell us that women are more likely to have depression than men, but in reality men are just as likely to experience depression, but are far less likely to seek help, be diagnosed or receive treatment” he said.
“Stereotypes such as ‘real men don’t cry’ can hold men back from getting help, and we are worried that the true extent of men’s mental health problems is further masked by the fact that the symptoms of depression that we look for are more commonly experienced by women than men, such as tearfulness.
“With diagnostic criteria being more geared towards women, we have heard that men’s depression isn’t always picked up and men who do try to reach out are slipping through the net and not receiving the support they need – support that can prove to be life saving. Men make up three quarters of all suicides, and we have to start looking beyond the statistics” said Farmer.
If you think that someone close to you is showing signs of depression or a change in behaviour, encourage them to speak about how they feel and to seek help.Learn how I beat Depression