June is Men’s Mental Health Month and discussions on the topic have become more common in recent years. Nonetheless, there is still a significant stigma that prevents many men from seeking help.
June is Men’s Mental Health Month and discussions on the topic have become more common in recent years. Nonetheless, there is still a significant stigma that prevents many men from seeking help or even talking about their struggles.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), in any given year, approximately 9.7% of men in the United States experience a depressive episode. The CDC says over the past year only 15% of men versus 26.1% of women have received mental health care.
For some men, it can be embarrassing, emasculating, and difficult to talk about depression, mental health, and trauma they go through in life.
“You can’t go on through life just blaming other people and things out of your control. You really got to take control,” metro Detroiter Lawrence Phillips said.
And many men, like Lawrence, internalize it. According to Lawrence, he was a heavy drinker for 23 years. He said he turned to alcohol to mask his depression. He tried quitting 5 times and has now been sober for 21 months.
“I didn’t even like drinking anymore, but I wasn’t comfortable feeling my feelings so I would pour alcohol and numb it away,” he said.
Doctor Ibrahim Sablaban is a psychiatrist and addiction medicine doctor with Corewell Health, he said, “Oftentimes people go down this road of self-medication with substance use. Men are at higher risk of substance use.”
Men can also be embarrassed about speaking up about being victims of domestic violence. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 4 men have been physically abused which includes being slapped or pushed. 1 in 7 men have been severely physically abused which includes being hit with a fist or kicked. 48% of men have experienced at least one psychologically aggressive behavior like feeling threatened by their partner’s actions.
“Mental health, psychiatric care, and things like person-to-person violence and domestic abuse, they’re really personal intimate things so really getting into the right avenue whether that’s therapy or a support group. I feel like the greatest issue is a lot of people feel like they’re isolated,” Dr. Sablaban said. “And for men who seek help and want to get better, they do it not only for themselves but for their family and friends.”