Depression is common. In fact 1 in 8 men experience it at some stage of their life. And while these rates are lower than in women, Australian men are more than three times more likely to die by suicide than women.
While we all feel ‘down’ at times, if you or someone you know has been sad, moody, angry or unable to sleep or concentrate for more than a few weeks, it could be depression. Other signs include losing your interest in work, sport, sex, socialising or other things you used to enjoy.
Men generally find it harder to acknowledge they have a health problem, particularly mental health problems, as they feel they need to be tough, self-reliant and in charge. This means they often tend to put off getting help. But depression is a serious condition which won’t get better by itself.
The causes of depression are different for everyone but known risk factors for men include physical health problems, relationship problems, employment problems, social isolation, significant changes in living arrangements (such as a separation or divorce), pregnancy and the birth of a child, and drug and alcohol use.
The good news is that there are things you can do to deal with depression and the sooner you take action the better.
Talk to someone you trust – this could be a friend, partner, family member or a colleague.
See your doctor who can help assess the problem and work out an action plan with you. This might include self-care strategies, counselling and in some people, medications.
Staying active, eating well, improving sleep, managing stress and planning your day to include some enjoyable activities can all help.