Posted on: June 17, 2019 | Dr. Todd Thatcher Since 1994, June has been recognized as Men’s Health Month. This month is observed by encouraging the men in your life to participate by learning more about preventable diseases, seeking medical advice regularly, and getting a physical. Statistically, men die five years younger than women and at higher rates from the leading causes of death. One of the reasons for these staggering numbers is the fact that men visit a primary care provider at lower rates than women, and are less likely to seek medical attention overall. While physical health is the main focus of Men’s Health Month and is very important, there’s another important factor to men’s health that is often overlooked: mental health. Men’s mental health is rarely discussed but affects more men than you may think. Highland Springs wants to raise awareness and spread the word that mental health is important for everyone. So, what can we do this June to open the conversation about men’s mental health? A Guide to Men’s Mental Health One of the biggest issues surrounding the state of men’s mental health is lack of awareness. Here’s a quick breakdown of the statistics you need to know when it comes to men and their mental health according to Mental Health America. The top five mental health issues that affect men are: Depression – Over 6 million men suffer from depression yearly and it often goes undiagnosed. Symptoms men are likely to report include irritability, loss of interest in hobbies or work, and fatigue. Anxiety – 19.1 million American adults between the ages of 18 to 54 have some form of an anxiety disorder, and 3,020,000 men experience a panic disorder, agoraphobia, or any other phobia. Bipolar Disorder – Men and women experience this illness at equal rates and approximately 2.3 million Americans are affected by this. Men often experience onset between 16 to 25 years old. Psychosis and Schizophrenia – 90% of Americans diagnosed with schizophrenia by age 30 are men. This is one of the leading causes of disability and affects approximately 3.5 million people in the U.S. Eating Disorders – 10% of patients with anorexia or bulimia and approximately 35% of those with a binge-eating disorder are men, and of these men, they are less likely to seek professional help than women. Men’s suicide rates are four times higher than women’s. Suicide is the seventh leading cause of death for men. 1 in 5 men develops alcohol dependence during their lifetime. Low testosterone levels have been correlated to stress, mood swings, and depression in men. Men are less likely to seek mental health treatment due to a reluctance to talk, downplaying of symptoms, and social norms. With such alarming and staggering statistics, it is becoming crucial to raise awareness and begin making strides to alleviate the stigma surrounding men and mental health. So, the question is how do we help and where do we start? A great place to begin analyzing this issue is by getting to the root of the problem. Why Don’t Men Talk About Their Mental Health? This has been the age-old question surrounding men’s health. If men just talked about their feelings more often, it seems like a simple solution to these alarming statistics, right? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. According to Psychology Today, when it comes to mental health, men experience a phenomenon called a double-bind which is when “an individual or group regularly receives two contradictory yet insistent messages, with each message negating the other.” Basically, what this means for men and the state of their mental health is they are receiving messaging telling them to talk more while also being told to check their privilege and be quiet. So, what are men supposed to do? The suggested solution is to address this double-bind in order to promote the importance of focusing on men’s mental health. While this is an overarching problem, there are ways to talk to the men in your life and guide them to being more open about their mental health. How Can You Address Mental Health During Men’s Health Month? While the focus of Men’s Health Month is on physical health, there’s no reason you can’t apply the same tactics to addressing mental health. A few ways you can encourage the men in your life to focus on health this June include: Get him to the doctor for a routine physical Encourage a form of exercise Tell him how much you care Unsurprisingly, these same methods can apply to mental health. In addition to a routine physical, you could help him seek professional help or find local mental health treatment. Exercising can greatly help mental health, so while also helping improving physical health, you could improve mental health at the same time. Last but not least, showing and telling him how much you care can do wonders for both emotional and physical health. The first step is being there for the men in your life and offering any assistance you can. Seeking Mental Health Treatment in Utah If you or your loved one in the Beehive State is ready for assistance, Highland Springs offers superior mental health treatment in Utah for a variety of different issues. Of course, this is not limited to the month of June, but this month is a great excuse to start focusing on the mental health of the men in your life and check-in. So, this Men’s Health Month take time to focus on mental health as well as physical health. For more ways to get involved, visit MensHealthMonth.org. To seek assistance from Highland Springs, contact us today and schedule a confidential counseling appointment. Men’s Mental Health is important and raising awareness is crucial not just in June, but all year long. Let Highland Springs help you find happiness again. Call Today Dr. Todd ThatcherDr. Thatcher, DO, CRMO, works with the Valley Behavioral Health’s Director of Nursing providing supervision and oversight of medical operations for over 70 medical staff members and medical issues in over 70 clinics and facilities in Utah, Boise Idaho, and Phoenix Arizona. His major medical initiatives include telehealth, integrated care, medication-assisted treatment, and substance abuse services, forensics services, and seamless integration of jail/prison/mental health court & drug court/probation/parole services with behavioral health and substance abuse treatment, ValleyLab blood and urine drug testing, data analytics to drive better outcomes & computerized automation of standardized measurement tools, and Brainsway Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation clinic.