When the negative effect is an increase in depressive symptoms, substance abuse can often occur. Mental Health America reports that 6 million men are affected by depression in the United States each year. Studies have shown that the more “masculine” a man's beliefs are, the more likely he is to engage in risky health behaviors and avoid seeking help for health problems. Men may be less likely to seek mental health treatment because of social norms and a reluctance to talk about their problems, since they think “it won't help.” Because of that, and because of the stigma that still exists around mental illness (not to mention the pressure on men to always be strong), many men have a hard time admitting that they may need help.
Men may also be more likely to use potentially harmful coping methods, such as drugs or alcohol, and are less likely to talk to family or friends about their mental health. This could reflect different views on mental health, both among health care providers and among men themselves. While many men are reluctant to seek and continue treatment for mental health problems, it's a vital step in recovery. Some research also suggests that men who can't talk openly about their emotions may be less able to recognize the symptoms of mental health problems in themselves and less likely to seek support.
Societal expectations and traditional gender roles influence why men are less likely to speak up or seek help for their mental health problems. Many organizations offer support to those with mental health problems, and many focus solely on providing information and help to men. The prevalence among women is higher (6.5% compared to 3.9%) and more women receive mental health treatment than men for serious mental illnesses (70.5% compared to the cultural and social stigma surrounding mental health is a barrier for both sexes, but men seem to have more difficulty doing so). In addition to seeking and receiving treatment less frequently than women, men are affected in a gender-specific way by mental health problems.