Mental illness is still often one of society’s big nasty secrets. If we don’t talk about it, it didn’t happen, it’s not happening and it won’t happen. The sad thing is, it has happened, it does happen, and it will happen.
Although both men and women live with mental illness, women are more likely to seek help than men. While it may be almost ok for women to admit they aren’t mentally healthy, it’s still not for men. As a result, many men don’t only go untreated, they themselves may not recognize their needs.
How do I know this? I have personal experience with it. I had one brother who tried to commit suicide when we were teens. I saved him. Four years ago, my baby brother did kill himself - I wasn’t able to save him. He was 35 years old.
A study done at a Canadian university, the University of Montreal, and published in a recent issue of Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, has found that Between 20% and 70% of Canadians who live with mental illness do not seek or actively avoid medical treatment.
Statistics Canada published the results of a survey called the Canadian Community Health Survey. The results of that showed that “women are 1.5 times more likely than men to turn to psychiatric services, twice as likely to consult a psychologist and 2.5 times more likely to turn to a general practitioner.” ( U of M press release )
I wrote about this topic in my own blog ( Suicide, not a disease, so no walkathons, ribbons, or research race). The United States and Canada - as much as we have our differences - are also very similar. I’m sure that the mental health issues that exist in Canada are very similar in the U.S. If few Canadian men are seeking help, I’m willing to bet that American men are the same.
If you’d like to read more about men and mental health, here are a couple of links for you: