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The pressures of the masculine stereotype and depression in men

Sadly, there remains a stigma surrounding men discussing their mental health, and this stigma is something that can be incredibly damaging. It can cause a person to feel trapped and alone, preventing them from reaching out and accessing the support that they need to start getting better.

Within this blog, we will look at why this stigma unfortunately still exists. We will also outline the signs of depression for men to look out for and provide information on how to go about accessing the right help and support.

Why do men find it more difficult to talk about their mental health?

Generally, from a very early age, many people are conditioned to understand that gender roles are distinct for men and women. It is often taught that men are to behave in a certain way - to be ‘masculine’, ‘strong’, not show their emotions, and look to be ‘in-control’ of a situation. However, this expectation and stigma can add a lot of undue pressure onto men.

A lifetime of hiding emotions can make it harder for men to breakdown walls, open up to people and seek help when they need to.

Men, like women, need to process their emotions and ask for support when they need it. It’s important for men to understand that, rather than being seen as an act of weakness, taking off the ‘mask’ and acknowledging their own vulnerability is an incredibly brave thing to do. It’s ok not to be ok, for both men and women alike.

Signs and symptoms to look out for

In order to recognise when help is needed for depression, some of the common sign and symptoms men need to be aware of are:

  • Low mood and intense sadness
  • Feeling anxious and restless
  • Becoming angry and frustrated over minor things
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping more than usual
  • Constant tiredness
  • Loss or increase of appetite
  • Unable to cope in your daily life
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Disinterest in activities previously found pleasurable

Other symptoms in men can include headaches, non-specific pains and gastro-intestinal problems.

When people are able to recognise and respond to the symptoms of depression, they have the opportunity to access treatment and improve how they’ve been feeling much quicker. They don’t have to continue battling through on their own.

What treatment is available for depression?

Somebody experiencing symptoms of depression will often experience negative thoughts and beliefs about themselves and the world around them. Consequently, this can cause the person to feel hopeless, sad, guilty and ashamed of themselves.

In order to address this, a therapeutic technique called cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is often used. This technique is effective in the following ways:

  1. It helps you to identify the harmful and destructive thoughts and self-talk that causes you to feel sad and hopeless. These thoughts could include “nobody likes me”, “I’m no good at anything” or “I’m worthless”.
  2. It teaches you how these types of negative thoughts affect your emotions and behaviour.
  3. It helps you to replace these types of thought patterns with positive ones such as, “I have a purpose”, “I have accomplishments” and “I have people in my life who love me”.

By helping people to stop and swap their negative thought patterns, CBT give them the chance to improve how they feel moving forward.

Seeking professional support

If you are struggling with your mental health, it’s important to understand that you may need professional help to overcome your depression and you don’t have to suffer alone.

If you are worried that you may have depression, you can come directly to Priory Wellbeing Centre Dubai. One of our consultant psychiatrists will be able to assess your symptoms, provide you with a diagnosis and recommend the best form of depression treatment for you to receive at our wellbeing centre.

If you would like to find out more information about depression treatment at Priory Wellbeing Centre Dubai, you can call us on (+971) 4 245 3800 to speak to one of our administrative team, in confidence, or submit an online enquire form.

Tanya Dharamshi, Counsellor

This page was clinically reviewed by Tanya Dharamshi (BSW, MSc Psych, Counsellor, DHCC, UAE). Tanya brings 18+ years of counselling experience in trauma, crisis intervention, child abuse, substance addiction, attachment disorder, depression, anxiety, stress, bereavement, couples therapy, mood disorders, chronic illness and adjustment disorder. View Tanya's full profile here.