Why We Need To Talk About Men’s Mental Health

Available with English captions and subtitles in Spanish.

Men are less likely than women to seek mental health help for depression, substance addiction, and stressful life events, including anxiety and trauma. There are many reasons for it, including unwillingness to talk, social norms, existing stigma, and downplaying symptoms.

But “I’m fine” can only get someone so far—especially since men are significantly more at risk of attempting suicide than women. Just because it’s difficult to open up about mental health doesn’t mean that anyone should struggle in silence.

Audience Questions

Christopher M. Palmer, MD, discusses why men’s mental health is becoming a bigger crisis, shares ways to talk to your loved ones about mental health, and answers audience questions about the value of destigmatizing men’s mental health.

  • Why is it so important for us to talk about men’s mental health?
  • Would you say there is a mental health crisis in populations that identify as male?
  • Why are men less likely to seek mental health help?
  • Until we drop the word “mental” from mental health, I don’t see the use or uptake of counseling/mental health treatment among men changing. Do you agree or disagree? Do you think this language contributes to the stigma of mental health among men?
  • What are some of the telltale signs that someone who identifies as male may be struggling with their mental health?
  • Since so much of mental health is subjective, what are some ways that providers can start the discussion about seeking mental health help through collecting qualitative data?
  • I have female patients who easily accept advice to seek mental health follow-up care, but I get resistance from male patients. In your opinion, what are the probable reasons for this, and how would you address this when talking to men about following up about their mental health?
  • How can we work on normalizing help-seeking behavior for men, other than being forced into hospital during an acute episode?
  • I’m the youngest of four siblings. All of my brothers were affected by a mental illness. I wasn’t. A family member has an issue with the use of the word “crazy.” Any feedback on the use of the word?
  • Do you have any advice for a gay male who does not want to be public in this regard, but wants to stay mentally healthy?
  • How do I talk to my partner/friend/brother/parent about his mental health and getting him to consider his mental health?
  • What is your advice about mental health disclosure in the workplace? Sometimes disclosing that you have a condition might help create healthier work environments, but many feel it has significant risks too.
  • The issue of men’s mental health and stigma surrounding seeking care has been discussed for more than 30 years, and we haven’t made much progress. How can we help move it in the right direction?

The information discussed is intended to be educational and should not be used as a substitute for guidance provided by your health care provider. Please consult with your treatment team before making any changes to your care plan.

About Dr. Palmer

For over 20 years, Christopher M. Palmer, MD, has focused his clinical work on treatment-resistant cases, and recently he has been pioneering the use of the ketogenic diet in psychiatry, especially treatment-resistant cases of mood and psychotic disorders. He is currently the director of the Department of Postgraduate and Continuing Education at McLean Hospital and an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Learn more about Dr. Palmer.

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