Men are raised to be strong and always be in control of their emotions. Society expectations about how men should be and behave add more pressure.
So when they experience the feelings of hopelessness or get overwhelmed by despair, they often try to cover it up, or be in denial.
Unfortunately, depression in men often gets overlooked as many finds it difficult to talk about their feelings.
Instead, men tend to focus on the physical symptoms which often accompany (male) depression such as back pain, headaches, sexual problems and so forth.
This often result in underlying depression go untreated.
Men who are suffering from depression are 4x more likely to commit suicide than women. Unlike women, men find it hard to talk about their feelings. Lot’s of men pride’s and ego gets in the way of them seeking help because they don’t want to be perceived as weak.
Despite growing depression awareness around the world, mental health is still a taboo subject among us which has caused many to feel that the only way out is suicide.
According to Men’s Foundation report; 18 men commits suicide due to depression every day! Let that sink in. these are the lives that could be saved if we could only stop stigmatizing mental illness. these are the lives that could be saved if we could only stop shaming those who are suffering from mental illness!
I have found out that most people in our black communities, depression is regarded as a white people’s illness. Depression does not have colour. Misunderstanding, ignorance and lack of mental health education are at the root of stigmatization. These factors have inflicted immense suffering to those suffering.
Can we get this right? Depression is more than just sadness, it is a serious condition which has an impact on both the physical and mental health. It is not necessarily brought on by any certain event or distressing circumstances. Rather it manifests without any determinable trigger.
Other depression causes include genetic disorder, chemical imbalance in the brain, drugs, stress.
Here’s a quick sad extent of suicide caused by depression in South Africa;
In 2012, about 6 133 suicides were reported. with majority of suicide victims being men.
It has also been reported that suicide is the 4th leading cause for young people aged between 15 and 24. These are the lives that didn’t have to end so soon.
“Depression is a vile, consuming, physiological, and life-eclipsing illness of both the body and the mind. It can fill your head with lies; spoken to you in your own voice; telling you that your life is not worth living, that your pain will not end, that you can only end the suffering through self-harm”
Just like any illness, depression can be treated be it through medication, therapy or lifestyle change.
So to every men out here today;
Men get depression.
Men gets suicidal thoughts
Men get mental illness
Men break down.
It is not unmanly to struggle.
So maybe instead of us saying man up, lets say its okay to talk about it.
Lets encourage men to speak out, not letting them suffer in silence.