Men’s Health Week by Dr Michael Hanson
June 12, 2023
Men’s Health Week runs from 12 – 18 June 2023, with a focus on spreading awareness regarding men’s mental health and emotional wellbeing. This can often be overlooked or downplayed by men themselves and others.
Men’s Mental Health
Throughout their lifetime, one in five Australian men experience anxiety and one in eight suffer with depression. Depression is a considerable risk factor for suicide and contributes to the higher rates of suicide rates for men compared to women.
Men’s experience of depression often presents differently to that of women.
Depression can make men feel sad, irritable, empty and lose pleasure in things they normally enjoy. Unfortunately, outdated definitions of masculinity have made it even more difficult for men to acknowledge or talk about their feelings.
Men are more likely to be aware of physical aspects of depression such as feeling tired or losing weight, rather than recognising changes in how they feel. They are also more likely to abuse alcohol and other drugs, and to withdraw socially when they are depressed.
As a community, it is vital we encourage help-seeking for everyone with mental health issues, but men may require more encouragement due to existing social norms and mental health stigma.
Your GP can help in assessing your symptoms and develop a mental health plan which includes subsidised visits to psychologists or counsellors for ongoing support.
As part of a management plan, your GP will assess your physical activity, diet and sleep habits which are important factors in the recovery process. They may also undertake investigations including blood tests and scans, and consider the potential benefits of antidepressant medication.