VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Mental health disorders affect men and women, but men are much more likely to die by suicide.
“Men are more likely to repress and have more anger, or show more destructive behaviors, or just kind of push down everything and wait to seek treatment,” said Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Mary Crutchfield.
The reasons why they wait, she said, have to do with the stigma associated with seeking treatment.
“Society has this strong pressure for stoicism, or the need to be emotionally resilient, to look strong to be the provider for the family,” Crutchfield told WAVY.
“There’s a gentleman that I know that I talked to recently and he didn’t seek help until he was looking for a bridge to jump off of,” she said.
The good news is mental health care providers are seeing some change post-pandemic. Younger men in their 20s are recognizing symptoms and seeking treatment more often then their fathers or grandfathers.
The first signs of a mental disorder include:
Anger, irritability or aggressiveness
Eating too little or too much
Increased use of alcohol or drugs
While Gen Zers are talking with their friends about these issues more often, Crutchfield contended we need to work on getting the older generations to kick the stigma.
“I will say, for men, group support has been found to be so helpful,” she said.
Finding those groups is as easy as a click or quick phone call.
Psychology Today can help you find group or individual therapy by simply typing in your zip code. You can also call or click on NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Health, to find groups.
You can designate all-male or mixed-gender groups and even specific issues if you choose.
If you or someone you love is in a mental health crisis, the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available 24/7 by dialing 988.
Those resources are totally free and can be totally freeing for those who find healthier, happier lives by finally facing their mental health.