National Men’s Health Week is observed each year leading up to Father’s Day.
Help support the men in your life with these three tips for better mental health.
1. Depression affects everyone.
Men and women, older adults and young adolescents, all types of people can be affected by this “poisonous fogbank” which is how the author William Styron described depression.
But men may be inclined to falsely think they don’t (or shouldn’t) get depression.
Major depressive disorder, as its formally called, is one of the most common medical conditions, and at some time in their lives, one in every ten men develop clinical depression.
2. It is easy to recognize and get started on effective treatment for depression or other common psychiatric conditions.
A quick visit with your primary care doctor, or other medical professional if you prefer, is all it takes for an evaluation.
But remember—don’t delay. In my experience treating patients, the earlier they come in the easier it is.
In milder cases, you might even be able to benefit from a structured, self-help approach online. The VA, for example, has developed an online coach for PTSD.
3. Men may need an extra nudge to get treatment.
Whether it’s your husband, father, partner, son or friend, loved ones are well-placed to give that friendly nudge.
For example, our recent study found that depressed men who felt they had social support available to them were unlikely to use professional mental health services.
If you suspect a friend or family member has depression, one of the best ways to support them is to encourage them to seek care from a mental health professional.
Alan R. Teo, M.D., M.S, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and School of Public Health at OHSU, and a Core Investigator, VA Portland Health Care System.