For many men, depression is something of a taboo subject and one of the aims of Movember is to raise awareness of men’s mental health problems. Depression is more commonly diagnosed in women, but it is thought that this is because men aren’t as likely to seek help for symptoms of depression.
What is depression?
Depression relates to a prolonged period of being in a low mood, often accompanied by other physical and mental symptoms. These include:
- A persistent low mood
- Lack of motivation and enthusiasm
- Becoming withdrawn
- Changes in usual behaviour and routines
- Loss of libido
- Difficulty making decisions
- Sleep disturbances
- Loss of appetite
- Anger and frustration
- Feeling helpless or worthless
In severe cases of depression, suicidal thoughts may occur.
Causes of depression
Depression can stem from various triggers or as the result of certain circumstances. Common triggers include:
- Relationship difficulties or breakdown
- Financial worries
Poor health, illness and bereavement can also contribute to depression.
Dealing with depression
Research suggests that men are less likely to talk about depression than women, which could be why such a large number of male depression cases go undiagnosed. Many feel there is a stigma attached to mental health and although there is now a greater understanding about mental health disorders, it’s still a subject some still feel uncomfortable discussing.
If you think you might be suffering from depression, it’s important to seek advice. Seeing a GP about it can make a positive difference to your life. There are many options for dealing with depression including talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy and counselling. Self-help techniques such as exercise, eating well and stress management can be very helpful and anti-depressant medication is also available.
It’s important to remember that your GP will treat any information you provide with the utmost respect and your consultation will be private and confidential.
As well as seeing your GP, there are also other organisations that can help, such as Depression Alliance, the Samaritans and Mind. Sometimes people find it easier to talk to others online or over the phone and these charities can provide such services, or direct you to the right place.
Helping someone with depression
If you’re worried that your father, brother, husband or boyfriend might be suffering with depression, take things slowly and encourage your loved one to open up to you. If they don’t feel ready to do this, be patient and don’t force them. Try to encourage them to seek help from a charity of their GP. Many people find it difficult to be honest and open with those they are closest to, so don’t be offended if they would rather talk to somebody they don’t know.