Men receive daily messages from television and film to take care of their physical health:
- Runners can channel Rocky’s triumphant run up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
- T'Challa’s Wakanda fight scenes can guide you in a Black Panther inspired workout.
- Jackie Chan’s famous kicks have motivated generations of students to learn martial arts.
But it can be harder for men to find a media message telling them to prioritize their mental and emotional well-being. It can feel selfish or un-masculine to focus on feelings over muscles. Here are three reasons that mental health is essential for men, and steps on what you can do to improve yours.
1. Good mental health helps your friendships.
Social withdrawal is a common symptom experienced by men living with mental illnesses like depression, bipolar disorder and PTSD. When men experience these symptoms, they lose interest in activities that used to bring them joy. For any given man, that could mean: tickets to a sporting event go un-used, a spot will be empty at the weekly trivia night or a beloved bowling team may lose a tournament without their star player. Instead of spending time with friends, they choose to stay home and sit on the couch.
Treating depression will help you get back on the golf course with your friends. There is evidence that good friendships even help you avoid depression.
2. Good mental health helps relationships with your family members.
Do you want to be a better father, husband, son or brother? Taking care of your mental health helps you be there with the people you love the most. Children of depressed parents are more likely to have behavioral health problems. Because mental illness can decrease your ability to feel empathy towards other people, it can be challenging to connect with people you once felt close to. Research suggests that mental illness is strongly associated with divorce, so seeking treatment for your symptoms is seeking treatment for your marriage.
3. Good mental health keeps you alive.
Accessing adequate mental health care can mean the difference between life and death. Men are over three times more likely to die by suicide than women. And eating disorders, an extremely lethal illness, are becoming more common in men. Early intervention is crucial to preventing even one more lost life. Men living with mental illness deserve better.
What You Can Do
Do you think that you or a loved one might be depressed or experiencing the symptoms of another mental illness? You are not alone. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating mental illness. Keep reading for resources to begin your journey to mental wellness.
- If you are thinking about suicide, confidential help is available 24/7 from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call: 1-800-273-8255 or chat online.
- Did you know you can conduct a therapy appointment using your phone or computer, via video chat? Receive the care you need, on your schedule, in your home.
Start your Ochsner Anywhere Care Virtual Visit today.
- Do you live near an Ochsner Health Center facility? Find a provider for an in-person visit.
- Interested in finding a care provider, but don’t know where to start? Use this national database to search for a care provider.
- Regular exercise can help prevent and decrease the symptoms of mental illness. Try a spin class or start a walk routine today.
- The food you eat can impact your mood, too. The next time you’re at the grocery store, add a few more healthy items to your cart.
- Find a support group. Sharing your struggles with your peers can be very helpful. Keep an eye out for programs at local churches, clinics or community centers, or search for one from the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI).
Talk to a licensed therapist with an Ochsner Anywhere Care virtual visit.