MEN, DEPRESSION, AND STIGMA
Depression is more than just a feeling of sadness or melancholy. It’s a true mental health disorder, and the effects can be both pervasive and extreme; that’s why depression is a leading factor in suicide. Treatment for depression is readily available, and recovery is attainable—but many people, especially men, choose instead to suffer in silence, never seeking the help they need or allowing themselves to hit rock bottom before they admit to a problem.
There are a number of reasons why men might not seek treatment. Misinformation about depression is one major culprit; some men may not realize its seriousness, or understand the hope that is available. In other cases, men might fear that the recovery process is too difficult—and to be fair, recovery is never easy.
Men and Depression: Common Myths
The biggest reason why men don’t seek treatment for depression, however, is simple stigma. Seeking treatment for depression may be seen—erroneously—as somehow weak or unmanly. While these misconceptions are in no way true, they certainly are pervasive, and belief in these myths about depression treatment prevents many men from getting the help they need.
Here are some specific myths about men and depression—as well as some rebuttals. We cannot stress enough the importance of breaking past these myths, eradicating stigma, and helping men to get the mental health care they need.
Depression is a sign of personal weakness. You would never say that a man gets cancer because he is weak, or develops diabetes because he is weak—and the same should be true of depression. Again, this is a disease, a mental health disorder that does not have anything to do with personal weakness. The way for men to be strong is to resolve to get better, rather than simply accepting it.
Men shouldn’t need to ask for help. There’s an old stereotype about men being unwilling to ask for directions, and maybe that applies here: Many men simply don’t feel comfortable reaching out for help when they need it. But of course, men would seek the help of a surgeon if they had a brain tumor, and it’s perfectly reasonable to seek help from a therapist or other medical professional when the symptoms of depression are noted.
Men should be able to control their own feelings. Depression is not a feeling. It’s not the same thing as being sad. It’s actually a mood disorder, and as such it’s not something that men can simply turn off or on. Recovery can provide tools for managing the symptoms of depression, but it’s never something men can just choose to control.
You can’t make depression go away by talking about it. Of course, you also can’t make depression go away by ignoring it; meanwhile, talking about your experiences actually can help, especially if you do so with a medical professional.
Admitting to depression creates a burden on loved ones. Your family members love you and want you to be healthy, and it’s not a burden on them for you to seek a treatment for your medical condition. The opposite is true, actually: It’s far more burdensome to live with an illness and refuse to get the help you need.
Get Help for Depression
The good news is that when you accept that you need help, treatment for depression can be exceedingly effective; in fact, it can mark the beginning of a fresh new chapter for you. Seek help for your depression symptoms today. Contact Alsana to ask about the mental health recovery services we provide.
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