Since 1949, May has been observed as Mental Health Month, and in June we observe Men’s Health Month (MHM) which brings attention to male physical well-being. For this edition of For Your Benefit, we are combining both to encourage the men in our lives to take care of their bodies by eating right, exercising, and focusing on disease prevention. We also know that, typically, men do not like to talk about or seek help for a mental health issue. According to Psychology Today, numerous researchers have recently stated that there is a silent crisis in men’s mental health. Let’s look at male mental well-being first.
Mental Health America reports that 6 million men suffer from depression each year. Depression can be hard to talk about, and so, many men end up struggling silently for years, only to reach out when they have hit rock bottom, if at all.
The three most commonly overlooked signs of depression in men are:
- Physical ailments.Sometimes depression in men shows up as frequent headaches, sleep problems, sexual dysfunction or digestive disorders that do not respond to normal treatment.
- Anger.This could range from irritability, sensitivity to criticism, or a loss of a sense of humor to road rage, a short temper or even violence.
- Reckless behavior.A man suffering from depression may engage in risky behavior like pursuing dangerous sports, driving recklessly, drinking too much or gambling compulsively.
If you are concerned that a man in your life may be depressed, check out Cleveland Clinic’s ways you may be able to help (scroll down the page to see suggestions).
According to Psychology Today, men make up over 75 percent of suicide victims in the United States, with one man killing himself every 20 minutes. In 2018, the suicide rate among males was 3.7 times higher than that among females. Very high rates have been observed in veterans, young American Indians and gay men. A common factor among these groups may be perceived or real rejection from mainstream society, leading to strong feelings of alienation and isolation.
Crisis Corner: We can all help prevent suicide. Are you or do you know someone in crisis? Call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-272-TALK (8255) to access free and confidential support.
Your Pearson Benefits offers help with mental health issues in various ways:
- Take advantage of MDLIVE Therapy, where you can receive behavioral health therapy with a psychologist or psychiatrist right in the comfort of your own home for a small copayment. Learn more here.
- The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides unlimited, no cost, telephonic counseling and up to five free, face-to-face or video sessions with a professional counselor. Visit Cigna EAP or call 1-800-593-4138 to get more information.
- Psychological and psychiatric care are part of your medical plan coverage. Visit the website of your medical plan administrator to search for providers.