By now, we’ve all come to notice and expect the growth and brandishing of moustaches in and around the month of November. We know it’s Movember! But what does that mean? Movember is an international organization that raises money and awareness for men’s specific health issues. Though a fun and creative way to raise awareness, they are tackling some pretty heavy men’s health issues, including men’s mental health. But why men’s mental health? There are some fairly startling statistics. Worldwide, a man dies by suicide every minute. In Canada, men account for 4 out of every 5 suicides. It is sometimes called “The Silent Crisis”. Men often struggle with mental health concerns in silence because of public, individual and developmental perception of what it means to be a “man”, the ability to be strong and the stigma (and perceived weakness) around mental health concerns. In Canada, nearly 30% of men said that they feared losing their job if they discussed their own mental health at work. A third of all respondents said that they felt that they would be held back from promotion if others at work discovered their mental health concern. In short, men are less likely to receive treatment for mental health concerns, and specific research into the issue is beginning to highlight the consequences.
Often men and their care providers don’t make the connection between physical symptoms, behaviour and mental health concerns like depression & anxiety. In men, depression & anxiety can sometimes present physically as: headaches, body aches & problems with digestion, difficulty with concentration & memory, change in energy level, sex drive, sleep & appetite. In men, depression & anxiety can also manifest as changes in mood, unexplained anger, irritability & violence, and behaviour such as alcohol, cannabis & substance use, or excessive gambling, porn/sex/love & internet/video game use. Men may also experience social changes as well, such as social isolation, withdrawal and not engaging in activities they once enjoyed. If you or someone you know is having some of these experiences, it might be time to seek help.