MAN DOWN!! MAN DOWN!!
According to the National Institute for Mental Health(NIMH), 6,000,000 men are diagnosed with depression every year.
I don’t know all 6 million, but I know several men who struggle with depression on a daily basis. The levels range from mild to severe, but the struggle is real nonetheless.
Men are stubborn by nature when it comes to their health. They are raised to be strong and invincible in all situations. How many men don’t go for regular physicals and checkups? How many would rather live with an illness rather than follow through with treatment?
At the same time, men in minority communities don’t believe, as do most in these communities, that mental illness is a real problem. Like the women in our communities, men feel that this is a sign of weakness. That we just need to “get over it” and keep it moving. Therapy is a curse word. Medicine is for weaklings. This way of thinking is deadly. Two celebrity deaths have always really stood out to me. Robin Williams and Lee Thompson Young. Both men died by suicide. They came from two different worlds but shared the same pain. But it wasn’t until after their deaths that their struggles were examined. Lee Thompson Young was on a top show. Robin Williams was a comedian for goodness sake!! But that’s what we do, laugh to keep from crying. Make everyone else feel better and neglect ourselves.
It’s heartbreaking to watch our men struggle. We need to let them know that it’s ok to be less than perfect. That they are allowed to express their hurt and sadness. That mental health is just as important as physical health.
Please pay attention to the men in your lives. Reach out to them. Ask them questions. Be open and supportive.
Men, manup and embrace your feelings! It’s ok. It will be even better when you take control of your life and seek help. Don’t stay down. Open up and live longer. We need you in our lives.
Take a listen to my episode where I discuss Men and Mental Health.