Men’s mental health is often overlooked in the United States. Cultural norms and societal stereotypes can create barriers for men in seeking out recovery or even acknowledging that they have a mental health concern.
However, finding effective treatment can make a dramatic difference in your overall health and help you to live a happier and more productive life.
1. One in Five Men Experience a Mental Health Disorder Each Year
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 19.7% of all men over the age of 18 live with a mental health disorder each year. While women, in general, experience a higher rate of mental health disorders at 26.4%, mental health disorders among men are exceptionally common.
Some of the most common mental health disorders men deal with include:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Bipolar disorder
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Importantly, this one-in-five number excludes substance use disorders — making the true overall burden of mental health concerns even higher for men.
2. Men Tend to Underreport Mental Health Symptoms
The number of men experiencing mental health problems may be even higher than studies suggest. Many researchers believe that men have a tendency to underreport mental health symptoms, which may lead to lower rates of mental health disorders being reported in national studies.
This could also be a result of the different ways that men experience mental health challenges, which leads directly into the next of our men’s mental health facts.
3. Men Often Show Different Mental Health Symptoms
In common mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder, men tend to show very different symptoms than their female counterparts. Men tend to show externalizing behaviors rather than internalizing behaviors.
An externalizing behavior is something that is directed to the outside world. Common externalizing behavior includes anger, violence, and impulsivity. In contrast, internalizing behaviors are focused inward and include withdrawal, sadness, and fear.
For example, depressed men are more likely to be irritable or angry rather than withdrawn or morose. While men often experience internalizing symptoms as well, they can often mistakenly believe they aren’t experiencing a mental health condition due to the different ways their symptoms are expressed.
4. Men Are Less Likely to Seek Out Help
Decades of research have shown that men with mental health disorders are substantially less likely to seek out help. In 2022, only 41.6% of men who had any mental illness received mental health treatment, compared to 56.9% of women.
There are countless reasons why men don’t seek out help. But most mental health disorders can benefit from targeted treatment, which can reduce symptoms and often lead to complete remission,
5. Stigma and Stereotypes Can Interfere With Seeking Treatment
One of the potential reasons that men are less likely to seek treatment include cultural stigma and stereotypes. Men face a number of cultural expectations and stigmatizing beliefs that can prevent them from getting the help they need.
Men in the United States are told countless things about what it means to be a man. Some common beliefs include:
- Men don’t cry
- A man deals with his problems alone
- Men should be entirely self-sufficient
- Asking for help is a weakness
These beliefs can cause devastation to men’s mental health, preventing men from starting evidence-based treatment that can dramatically improve their lives.
6. Suicide Rates Are Higher for Men
One of the more tragic men’s mental health facts is that men are nearly four times more likely to die by suicide than women. All of the factors above can contribute to this fact: by not reporting mental health symptoms, men’s mental health concerns often go unnoticed.
Stigma often serves as a barrier to men seeking effective treatment. And externalizing behavior can often lead to anger and violence, both of which are associated with suicide risk.
If you or a loved one are in crisis, call 988 for 24/7 crisis support. You can feel better with appropriate mental health treatment.
7. Men’s Mental and Physical Health Are Directly Connected
One of the lesser-known facts about men’s mental health is how deeply interconnected mental and physical health are. Living with a mental health condition can put you at higher risk for medical health conditions, reduce your overall energy levels, and cause substantial sleep difficulties.
But it works in the other direction, too: physical health can directly impact your mental health. A healthy diet, exercise routine, and sleep schedule can protect men from a future mental health diagnosis. However, poor physical health or being diagnosed with severe medical illness can lead to mental health challenges.
8. Men Face Unique Barriers to Care
Along with stigma and stereotypes, men face several unique barriers to care. Seeking inpatient treatment, for instance, can often be impossible for a man who is the primary source of income for his family.
Additionally, men living in a culture with certain male stereotypes can be subject to the judgment of other men — even if they don’t believe in those stereotypes themselves. For example, men may fear judgment from male colleagues or from their friends, family, and spouse for seeking treatment.
9. Men Are at Higher Risk for Substance Use Disorders
While men face fewer mental health challenges in general, they face disproportionately higher rates of substance use disorders. In addition, men tend to live with substance use disorders for longer before seeking treatment, which can lead to increased problems of withdrawal and physical harm.
10. Recovery is Possible
Last, but not least – treatment works and recovery is possible. Most men’s mental health challenges are highly treatable, and many men will achieve complete remission of their symptoms when they seek appropriate mental health care.
But even if you don’t achieve total remission, you can achieve recovery. Recovery is a personal definition; for some, it means no longer experiencing any symptoms of mental illness. For others, it means improving your quality of life, learning healthy ways of dealing with your symptoms, or regaining functioning that was lost due to mental health challenges.
However, most people won’t be able to achieve recovery on their own. When they are left unaddressed, men’s mental health challenges tend to get worse rather than better. Seeking evidence-based treatment is the best way to start your path to recovery and start living a happier and healthier life.
Traditional Mental Health Treatment Options
The most common men’s mental health issues have historically been treated through two different options: talk therapy and medication.
Seeking either form of treatment, either alone or in conjunction with one another, has been shown through decades of scientific research to be effective at treating depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Talk therapy has several different modalities to help people achieve recovery, including:
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): centered on the understanding that thoughts, emotions, and behaviors all influence one another, which can help you change the way you think, feel, and behave
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): typically used as a trauma therapy, EMDR combines individual therapy with a technique known as bilateral stimulation, which can help make it easier for clients to talk about their struggles with trauma and other mental health disorders
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): building upon the foundations of CBT, DBT adds components of mindfulness and acceptance to help people manage their mental health symptoms
Reaching out to Plus by APN can help you determine which style of therapy is right for you and your needs and help you get the most benefit from your therapy sessions.
Therapy is often used in tandem with medication management, which can provide targeted mental health medications to reduce many common symptoms. Medication management has you work directly with a psychiatrist, who can help guide you toward the medications that work best.
But medication management is about more than just getting you on a prescription. Your psychiatrist can help you make informed decisions about different medications, monitor your progress, and adjust dosage or timing as needed to help you maximize the benefits you see from treatment.
Novel Treatment Options for Common Men’s Mental Health Issues
While therapy and medication are both highly effective mental health treatment methods, they don’t work for everyone. Some people don’t respond to traditional treatments at all, while others don’t see the level of change that they hoped for when they started mental health treatment.
Thankfully, several novel and innovative treatment methods can work for people even when traditional treatment methods have failed. Plus by APN uses a number of different technologies and treatment methods that can propel your success in recovery.
Ketamine-Assisted Therapy (KAT)
KAT uses the dissociative psychedelic ketamine as a therapy incubator to help people make substantial breakthroughs, often leading to a rapid reduction in depression, anxiety, or trauma symptoms
Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (dTMS)
Deep TMS integrates neuroscientific findings and advanced technological treatments. Using a personalized brain map and a specialized dTMS device, brief electrical impulses can stimulate regions of the brain that are underactive in many mental health disorders.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)
HBOT introduces clients to a hyperoxygenated chamber, increasing oxygen levels in the blood. Oxygen is an essential component of tissue repair throughout the brain and body. HBOT can accelerate the healing process and is useful in treating a number of physical and mental health conditions.
Neurofeedback uses real-time brain data to help you regulate your brain’s active state. By visualizing brain waves with advanced technology, you can receive direct feedback on how to promote calming and restorative states, which can train you in healthier ways to manage stress or other mental health symptoms.
These treatment methods all take a step further than traditional treatment options, helping people make rapid progress toward their mental health goals. Best of all, most treatments can be used in conjunction with one another or with traditional treatment methods to maximize your chances of treatment success.
Start Treatment at Plus by APN
When you’re ready to take the next steps toward greater mental health, reach out to Plus by APN by calling 424.644.6486 or by filling out our confidential online contact form. Your mental health matters — and our team can help show you the path to recovery.
- SAMHSA, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. “Any Mental Illness In Past Year: Section 6 PE Tables.” Section 6 Pe Tables – Results from the 2022 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables, Samhsa, CBHSQ, www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/reports/rpt42728/NSDUHDetailedTabs2022/NSDUHDetailedTabs2022/NSDUHDetTabsSect6pe2022.htm. Accessed 6 Jan. 2024.
- “Men and Mental Health.” National Institute of Mental Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/men-and-mental-health. Accessed 6 Jan. 2024.