Mental health issues can affect anyone irrespective of gender, age, socioeconomic status or cultural background. However, certain mental health conditions can present differently in men than women.
In Scotland males have some form of common mental health problem such as depression, anxiety or stress related conditions. However, they only make up one third of referrals received by psychological services.
Men are less likely to seek help and psychological intervention, so despite there being more women diagnosed with mental health problems, men are more likely to commit suicide, mainly before the age of 50. Being less willing to discuss emotional needs and mental health difficulties can delay access to appropriate treatment and recovery, leading to serious debilitating consequences.
Spotting the signs and symptoms:
Men and women tend to present with different signs and symptoms of mental illness, with men more commonly presenting with one or more of the following:
Anger and irritability
Difficulty concentrating, feeling restless or on edge
Increased risk taking behaviours
Increased use of alcohol and drugs
Suicidal thoughts, though may not discuss with others
Physical health symptoms such as pain/aches
Thoughts or behaviors that interfere with work, family, or social life
Why are mental health symptoms different in men?
Societal norms and expectation – concept of ‘masculinity’ and expectation to adhere to the ‘norms’
Attitudes – men are generally more competitive and want to feel strong and in control. They are less likely to share their vulnerability
Coping mechanism – instead of sharing emotions and feelings, they may use drugs, alcohol or other risk taking behaviours
Different hormonal changes
Stress and pressure – expectation of being the breadwinner creating financial, employment and family pressures
Recognising the signs of mental illness in one of your patients, as early as possible, is the first step towards them accessing support and help. Early diagnosis, intervention and treatment can improve outcomes, recovery and overall quality of life.
Considering the differences across conditions
Men are more likely to be involved in alcohol and substance misuse and are nearly 3 times more likely to be dependent on alcohol
67% of British people who consume alcohol at ‘hazardous’ levels are male, along with 80% of those dependent on alcohol
Almost 3 quarters of people dependent on cannabis and 69% of those dependent on other illegal drugs are male
More men who use drugs are admitted into hospital and die, compared to women who use drugs
Men suffering from depression, anxiety and other mental health difficulties are more likely to have problems with alcohol and substance misuse. Men may use alcohol or substances as a means of avoiding emotional pain and distress and can be an effective avoidance strategy for the short term, with detrimental long-term mental health consequences
It is a well-known fact that those who misuse alcohol and illicit substances can show increased anger and aggressive behaviour
Fewer men than women are diagnosed with depression as they either do not seek help or attempt less to minimise the distress
Men are less likely to share their feelings and emotional needs than women
Men suffering from depression may hide their emotions and feelings and appear angry, irritable and aggressive whereas women may appear sad and emotional
Men may present to their doctor with more physical health symptoms such as pains, aches and physiological symptoms of anxiety rather than low mood
Suicide is one of the leading killers in men under 50 years of age
Men are three times more likely to take their own life compared to women and 4 out of 5 suicides are by men.
Although more women attempt suicide, more men are successful due to the more dangerous methods they use.
If you ever feel this way, please join us in our Safe, secure, confidential and non judgemental space.
Everyone is welcome, join us from 6 – 8pm once a fortnight.
Our next meeting takes place on 15 October
Ayrshire , KA21 5LS
We are all looking forward to seeing you all. #LetsTalk #MentalHealthMatters