The suicide completion rate is higher in men than women, according to Danny Burgess, a psychiatry and behavior professor at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Burgess hopes that raising awareness about men’s mental health will change the stigma of seeking help.
“If we get that out, where men can say, ‘You know what? It’s OK to speak with someone.’ And that seeing someone doesn’t mean you’re crazy or weak, or any of the things, the stigma labels that sometimes we put on it,” Burgess said. “Then maybe we can intervene at an earlier point to get to that point where they’re considering suicide and attempting with very lethal means.”
Burgess said sleep habits, nutrition, physical activity and stress management are the baseline things men can do to get themselves to manage mental health issues. He also said there are a lot of resources in the community, including therapy and church groups.
Early signs of depression can be different for men than for women.
“Sometimes, with men, when they are depressed, you might see more of an irritability, or anger,” Burgess said. “Sometimes you actually see them dive into their work, even more so, as a way to escape whatever is going on with them emotionally.”
About 6 million American men are affected by depression every year, according to Mental Health America.