Typically women are more likely to be diagnosed with depression than men. However, research continues to highlight that men are actually just as likely, or more likely to be depressed than women. The difference is that many women show the typical symptoms of depression (crying, sadness, etc) so are able to recognise that they have the condition. Women are also more likely to ask for help. Statistically it takes approximately 10 years of a man’s life and three health professionals to properly diagnose their depression. Worse still, depression is often not recognised until men are in their 60s or even 70s! That’s a long time to live unhappily!
You may be saying to yourself “men don’t get depression”. It may surprise you to know that a number of well-known and outwardly happy men have suffered from the condition. Some of these are:
Michael Slater (International Cricketer)
Jeff Kennett (ex Victorian Premier and Hawthorn FC President)
Ian Thorpe (Olympic Gold Medallist)
Winston Churchill (former British Prime Minister)
David Letterman (American comedian and television presenter)
Michelangelo (Italian painter and sculptor)
Isaac Newton (British physicist)
Robbie Williams (British pop singer)
Depression is more than just a low mood. It is a serious condition that impacts both physical and mental health. It influences how people think and feel about themselves. Depression affects millions of men of all ages and backgrounds. Depression can lead to heart disease and other serious medical problems. It can also have a negative impact on relationships, hurting those that care about you!
Here are some other facts about depression in men:
Approximately one in six Australian men suffers from depression at any given time.
Men are four times more likely than women to commit suicide (ABS, 2000)
There is an association between male depression and cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Male depression is complicated by the fact that men are less likely to seek medical assistance.
Depression increases the risk of erectile dysfunction
The suicide rate for older Australian men (aged 65 years and over) remains exceptionally high.
A history of drug or alcohol abuse makes a man more vulnerable to depression.
In Australia, men account for 80 per cent of deaths by suicide, depression being a major factor. While depression in men is a common condition, many men live with the condition for years without receiving the help they need. They go through life feeling discontented and empty inside.