Just as I read Rhonda Rowland’s blog post about her father seeking help for depression, I received an e-mail from Molly McVoy, M.D. who works with the American Psychiatric Association about a Father’s Day survey on depression. According to the results, being a father is an important factor in a man’s decision to seek help for mental health issues. On the American Psychiatric Association’s website called HealthyMinds.org, a summary of the survey is published:
There are more than 6 million men suffering from depression each year, and though many try to deal with it on their own, the survey indicates that fathers are more likely to take their mental health seriously for the sake of their children. Over 90 percent of men surveyed said their role as a father or legal guardian would have an impact on their decision to seek help if they were feeling depressed.
Survey respondents were more likely to say they would encourage their fathers to seek help for depression if they are parents themselves. More than 90 percent of parents or guardians who still have contact with their fathers said they would be likely to encourage their own fathers to seek help for depression if they felt it was interfering with his work or relationships, while only 85 percent of the non-parents would encourage their father to get help.
While stigma surrounding mental health issues has declined, many men indicated that they are more comfortable discussing other health issues. Half of the men surveyed said it would be easier or equally easy to talk to their fathers about depression, while a third said it would be easier to talk to them about screening for cancer than seeking help for depression.