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If you’re talking to a MAN who you suspect feels hopeless and/ or over-whelmed, please, please, don’t ask him if he’s depressed.

Because… chances are he’ll deny the possibility anyway.

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Men, as opposed to women, are much more comfortable focusing on the physical symptoms that accompanies their depression.

 Statistics support the idea that women are much more likely to be depressed than men. It becomes clear, though, when you dig further, that the numbers may be misleading. Depressed men may never even come to the attention of those who study such things.

Too bad for him. His “macho” and his fear of looking weak, is likely to keep him from getting the help he needs. As opposed to a woman, who is more likely to see depression as a wake-up signal to get some help.

No wonder a clinically depressed man is four times as likely to commit suicide, as is a depressed woman.

 WHY DO MEN GET DEPRESSED?

 Just as it is for women, biological, psychological and social factors all come into play.

But, loss of a job, money problems and/or not meeting up to one’s own expectations, can take a extra-special toll on a man. Perhaps because he is not likely to look to his social network for the kind of comfort women get from their girlfriends.

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 HOW CAN YOU RECOGNIZE MALE DEPRESSION?

 Pay attention to his:

  • ailments which appear not to respond to treatment , like sleep problems, sexual dysfunction or frequent headaches.
  • changes in behavior , sensitivity to criticism, unusual spurts of anger or violence
  • reckless behavior, including road rage, participation in dangerous activity, excessive drinking or gambling.

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

  Skip the “D” word. (This is the year of bad “D” words). Men can be defensive if you call him “DEPRESSED.

Attempt to normalize the problem. Remind him that Abe Lincoln and Bruce Springstein, were both depressed. If you, yourself ever experienced a depressive episode, now would be a good time to share. Make sure he knows that you are in to help … and that he is not alone. “We” is a powerful word for a depressed man to hear.

 Ask him if he has thoughts about hurting himself.

 Talk about getting him some help to achieve some behavioral changes.

 Encourage him to do the things he does well. Getting going is the hardest part but…but… there’s often a big payday.

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But…. aways be clear about your own limits. “I’m here for you, for sure, but I need you to get the help you need to get back on track.

* Inspired by a September 20th 2016 Wall Street Journal article by Elizabeth Bernstein


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