Doing Life Together

504540_businessman_cell_phoneWhen Janet’s dad died suddenly, she was able to talk to friends and get though the tragic loss. Her husband, Jack, didn’t fare as well. Being male, he felt he had to be strong for Janet. Yet, Janet’s dad was the dad Jack never knew. The loss hit him hard.

When Jack felt the loss, he believed he had to be in control of his emotions in order to help Janet. In truth, he needed to let go and grieve with her. Both would have move through the healing process quicker.

But Jack felt he was weak for feeling depressed. He tried to minimize the intense emotions, feeling embarrassed that he was so emotional.

When women are depressed, they are more likely to seek help or talk to a friend. But when men get depressed, they prefer to deal with problems alone. And this lack of support and connection can put a man at risk for depression and suicide.

Men need to talk.

The problem is they don’t always feel they have permission to talk. And they are less likely to ask for help!

The silent epidemic of suicide and depression must be broken. When men are reluctant to talk about loss, relationship problems, burdens at work or in the family, they are at risk for depression.

Men experience depression differently. They tend to become irritable, restless, and tired, lose interest in work or hobbies, and have difficulty sleeping. They get angry, aggressive and take risks. Often, they turn to alcohol and drugs as a way to self-medicate. When they do become suicidal, men use more lethal methods than women.

So if you know a man who is depressed, get him to talk. Offer him support, listen and don’t ignore comments about wanting to end it all or check out. Encourage him to see a mental health professional to get help. Depression is very treatable.

When it comes to loss and grief, we all need to talk. And for men, that might take a little prompting.


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