When it comes to feeling low, it’s clear that there’s no useful way to suppose that any one person has it worse, somehow, than someone else. The state of feeling bad affects people in different ways, but the degree involved is something that’s largely personal and is often hard to represent in the first place. But the way in which people react to these feelings with subsequent behaviors is certainly something that can be measured, and there is growing evidence that men and women react in significantly different ways. In particular, it seems that women are much more prone to seeking professional help from a mental health care worker than men, a fact that can lead to much higher rates of feelings of depression among the male population.
Or at least, that would likely be the case, if reporting was especially reliable. But a new study has reported that men are less likely to seek therapy as well as less likely to report their feelings of unhappiness or loneliness than women. The study, performed at the University of Montreal, has distinguished itself from similar investigations through its look at why men might be more reluctant to initiate treatment or talk to loved ones about their negative emotions from a social standpoint. One possibly important piece of data shows us that while women are generally expected to take the occasional day off of work, typically for a parenting-related situation, men are given a smaller degree of understanding and their choice to take time off is sometimes interpreted as personal weakness or inability to perform.
With a heavy degree of social pressure on males to weather inner storms, it seems likely that many men who could benefit from counseling and psychotherapy, or who might find help in other areas simply by investigating sources of assistance, are suffering alone. The study, as well as many other reports and ideas focusing on the issue of male depression, posits that while a societal change in perception may seem like an imposing task, it may also prove an incredible advantage to scores of men who have been keeping silent.
© Copyright 2009 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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