Epidemiological research on suicide, substance abuse, and depression in men indicates numerous common underlying risk factors. One of the major common risk factors is employment and occupational issues. Research indicates that unemployment can be a chronic stressor, while becoming unemployed or being laid off can be an acute stressor. Numerous studies have found that unemployment has a greater impact on men's mental health compared to women.
Data from the most recent Monitoring the Future survey among young adults shows that, in general, young men are more likely than women to abuse drugs, such as marijuana, hallucinogens and prescription painkillers. In addition, men are nearly twice as likely to binge drink as women, and have consistently higher rates of alcohol-related deaths and hospitalizations. Because problematic alcohol use and other male substance abuse are considered socially acceptable to young men, and are even considered “masculine,” it is less commonly recognized as a symptom of a male mental health condition. According to a study conducted by Johns Hopkins University, the University of Minnesota and the Bloomberg School of Public Health, these attitudes place young men at greater risk of substance abuse, including becoming dependent on multiple substances.
Consequently, statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) show that substance use disorder is one of the most common male mental health disorders, with more men in treatment than women. PTSD is another of the most common mental health problems among men. Plus, PTSD isn't just something that military veterans suffer from. Approximately 60 percent of men experience at least one trauma in their lives, generally related to accidents, physical assaults, combat, or witnessing death or injury.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, more than two-thirds of teens have experienced a traumatic event, and those experiences can have long-term effects on the mental health of young adults. Are you or a loved one struggling with depression, anxiety, mental health, or substance abuse? Therefore, men tend to minimize their mental health symptoms, don't recognize what they're going through, and are reluctant to seek help. The World Health Organization identifies mental health as a state of well-being in which each person develops their own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and can make a contribution to their community. This makes men with common mental health disorders feel isolated and alone and ultimately puts them at high risk of suicide attempts.
As stated above, getting divorced and unemployed are two major risk factors for mental health problems in men. A complementary paper published in this issue examines in more detail specific clinical interventions for men, 6 so this article does not emphasize this important area of men's mental health. The symptoms of mental illness may appear differently in men and women, making it challenging to diagnose some mental conditions in men compared to women. Much research from across the Western world indicates that men underuse mental health services compared to women.
The hidden nature of men's mental health symptoms and the disconnect between low rates of diagnosis and high rates of suicide have led some academics to suggest a “silent crisis in men's mental health” that is not being sufficiently addressed. Evidence suggests that individual men may need to change; however, health service providers and society as a whole may also need to change. Extensive evidence suggests that adverse childhood experiences can have short-term and long-term psychological and physical health consequences for both men and women. .