Color & Control:

When ‘manning up’ is not a good idea

Regardless of race, income bracket, or background, males everywhere are reluctant to speak openly about their mental health. This is often related to old fashioned ideas about the need for men to show strength and 'man up' rather than admit weakness.

Often times counsellors and health professionals find that men have difficult time admitting they need help and also getting it. As a result, they often go undiagnosed and without therapy and/or medication. This is particularly true for men of colour and those with diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. Statistics indicate that only 30% of people who use mental health services identify as men.

Sex differences in mental health typically emerge across later childhood and adolescence with suffering from more situational stressors than women and dying by suicide four times more often. 

Symptoms tend to manifest differently between genders with males living with depression exhibiting higher levels of anger, depression, irritability as well as withdrawal and physiological indicators such as a racing heart, back pain, digestive issues or headaches. Here are a few visible indicators that someone who needs assistance may experience:

• A noticeable change in ability to think clearly and articulate cohesively.

• Excessive anxiety, lack of interest in social activities or hobbies, and an inability to cope with daily life and problems.

• Sleeping and eating patterns have changed leaving them tired and irritable.

• Fatigue, loss of energy and feelings of guilt or worthlessness.

• An increased use of alcohol or drugs which is beginning to affect their work and personal life.

• Reckless behaviour such as engaging in dangerous sports, compulsive gambling, drinking and driving.

Having a reliable support system is crucial for everyone, especially during difficult periods. Here are some things you can do to support a man in your life that’s going through a tough time:

–Be present: Let him know you are here, and care about him.

–Voice your concerns: If you know him well, start a conversation about changes you have observed in him.

–Be receptive: Remember to be empathic, patient, and non-judgmental.

–Encourage him to seek further help: Seeing a health professional, for example.

–Don’t try to “fix” them: Listen, acknowledge and point him towards resources. How do you start a conversation with a friend or loved one who you think might be struggling with a mental health problem or mental illness?


1 million Canadian men suffer from major depression each year.

Source: Cdn Men’s Health Foundation

Related Articles

Recent Articles

Complimentary Issue

If you would like to receive a free digital copy of this magazine enter your email.