Father’s Day is fast approaching, and we felt it was important to highlight not only the importance of men’s physical health but also emotional and psychological health. Last month, we focused on how women can invest time in taking care of themselves and their health. However, this recommendation certainly does not only apply to women—it applies to men too. Daily stresses and worries, often left unaddressed, can amount and eventually lead to more issues.
Men’s emotional and psychological health deserves attention as it is an important topic not often discussed. Studies reveal that men are as likely to suffer from a variety of mental health challenges as women.1 Yet, there are a number of barriers—including social stigma—that men may face in seeking access to appropriate care. Compounding multiple factors can lead to serious issues.
Interestingly, how men and women exhibit symptoms of distress may vary considerably. For example, it is common that depression among men may be displayed as anger and irritability, rather than as sadness.2 The lack of awareness about how men may react to stress or display distress may lead to little acknowledgement and lack of access to necessary resources and support.
To help support the men in your life it is important to recognize certain signs and symptoms that may be more present among men, as well as common depression symptoms. The signs below may indicate the need for extra support and even professional care3:
Escapist behaviour (i.e., over-involvement at work)
Furthermore, as we explore the topic of mental health, it is also important we understand how these issues can affect and influence one’s musculoskeletal (MSK) health and recovery from pain. Being able to effectively manage mental health can also help with physical pain.
Let’s start the conversation today. The more we talk about men’s health, the more we can start addressing the barriers and challenges experienced by many Canadians. We encourage all Canadians to create space for discussion inviting understanding, acceptance and empathy.
References: 1 Canadian Mental Health Association, “Men and Mental Illness.” https://www.cmha.ca/public_policy/men-and-mental-illness/ 2 Canadian Institute of Health Research, “Science Fact or Science Fiction: Is Depression in Men Overlooked?” https://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/documents/igh_mythbuster_depression-en.pdf 3John Ogrodniczuk, “Men and Depression,” Canadian Family Physician, February 2011, Vol. 57. https://aboutmen.ca/application/www.aboutmen.ca/asset/upload/tiny_mce/page/link/Men-and-depression---CFP.pdf