According to past research studies, females are found to be more likely to suffer from depression than males. Surprisingly, this has been a wide held belief for many years that states that women get more depressed than men. When researchers looked at the number of people meeting with therapists for depression, they found that more than 90% of the people were women. They concluded that depression must not affect men as much as women. What they failed to consider was how society plays a huge role in how individuals face mental health issues. It’s not that men are less likely to suffer from depression, but it’s the fact that men are extremely less likely to report being depressed. Societal standards have often expected males to be emotionless in order to avoid being seen as “weak.” Popular phrases such as “boys don’t cry” add to the stigma of males suffering from depression and not being allowed to show it. In reality, men and women are equally as likely to suffer from depression and suicidal thoughts. Depression doesn’t manifest differently amongst genders - it focuses primarily on depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life. When seeking professional treatment, men are less likely to have a support system that would encourage them to do so. They are taught to suppress all negative feelings and to wait until they go away, which unfortunately does not happen. This can lead to feelings of helplessness and suicide.
In the U.S., suicide rates are higher amongst men with a 4:1 ratio. Because most men who suffer from major depressive disorder do not seek treatment, they are more likely to commit suicide. They feel perpetual sadness and a lack of motivation to continue with daily life. It can affect how they feel, think and act. Suicide rates are also higher in other countries other than the U.S. because societies in these countries, especially Asian countries, don’t allow for men to admit to any mental health issues - they are seen as weak and a shame to the family. It’s important to know that this belief is nowhere near true, and that each person, no matter the gender, who is suffering from depression should seek professional treatment. Mental health issues are not gender-based, but are a product of genetic and environmental factors.
Piccinelli, M. & Wilkinson, G. (2000). Gender differences in depression. British Journal of Psychiatry, 177(4), 486-492. doi: 10.1192/bjp.177.6.486
White. H. & Stillion, J. M. (2008). Sex differences in attitudes toward suicide. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 12(3), 357-366. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-6402.1988.tb00949.x