Mental Notes with Hilary Valdez: Male mental health

Mental Notes with Hilary Valdez: Male mental health

by Hilary Valdez
Stripes Okinawa

Male mental fitness is a serious challenge. The masculinity crisis is real. Depression among men is rising and nearly 80% of all suicides are by men, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is the most prevalent psychiatric disorder in the world. MDD is also known as clinical depression, unipolar depression or, simply, depression, according to Suicide Awareness Voices of Education. Every 13.7 minutes a man takes his life somewhere in the U.S. Depression is present in at least 50 percent of these suicides. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15-to-24-year-old Americans. according to Canada’s Centre for Suicide Prevention. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that by the year 2030, depression will be the leading cause of disability worldwide.

Every day, approximately 132 Americans die by suicide. People with depressive illnesses carry out the majority of suicides. Major Depressive Disorder is also the most common co-occurring disorder with other disorders, (Substance Use Disorder [SUD], for example) in precipitating suicide according to Mood Disorders Society of Canada.

However, men and women also suffer from depression in different ways. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), about six million American men suffer from depression every year. Yet psychologists know that men are far less likely than women to seek help not only for all mental-health problems, but depression in particular.

Researchers at NIMH and clinicians believe traditional signs of depression (sadness, worthlessness, excessive guilt) may not represent many men's experiences of a depressive period. Research is just beginning to support the idea of a "male-based depression," it is possible that men may instead express their depression in terms of increases in fatigue, irritability, and anger (sometimes abusive in nature), loss of interest in work or hobbies, and sleep disturbances. Also, men use more drugs and alcohol, perhaps to self-medicate which can mask the signs of depression, making it more difficult to detect and treat.

Psychologists are investigating whether men who are depressed try to hide it with overwork; others expose themselves to harm via risky behavior. Untreated depression can result in personal, family, and financial problems, even suicide.

If you or someone you know is experiencing difficulty with depression and/or thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or use the online Lifeline Crisis Chat. Both resources are free and confidential. You’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor in your area.

For more information, visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also connect 24/7 to a crisis counselor by texting the Crisis Text Line.Text HOME to 741741.
Hilary Valdez is a retiree living in Japan. He is an experienced Mental Health professional and Resiliency Trainer. Valdez is a former Marine and has worked with the military most of his career and most recently worked at Camp Zama as a Master Resiliency Trainer. Valdez now has a private practice and publishes books on social and psychological issues. His books are available on Amazon and for Kindle. Learn more about Valdez and contact him at the website or email. Follow his YouTube channel Hilary’s Quick Talk for more insights.

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